The Gerald Smith Collection

Created: October, 2005 Updated: July, 2008

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The photographs on this page show a different sort of engine collection in that they were all designed and built by the one man, the late Gerald Smith. As if the construction of so many sophisticated, operational engines were not an accomplishment in itself, the impressive 18 cylinder, dual bank radial was made in 1924 and the other engines followed. The finish and attention to detail on all of the masterpieces is simply inspirational.

I'm deeply greatful to Nick Jones and John Downie who took the pictures at the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition of 2005 and have generously made them available for our enjoyment. Both these gentlemen are engine builders and faced the difficult task of flash photography of subjects "under glass" in a crowded exhibition hall. Much appreciated.

We are fortunate that Gerald Smith managed to find time to write as well as build. The three cylinder Osprey radial ran as a construction series in the English magazine Engineering in Miniature (EIM) between February 1986 and February 1987. The five cylinder radial Buzzard appeared between November 1987 and January 1988. EIM also ran a series titled Small Precision Aluminium Alloy Sand Castings by Smith in the October through December 1984 issues. In this series he explains how the castings for his Skylark were produced. His patterns are made with no draft angles, yet produce a precision rivaling that normally associated with lost wax techniques. Back issues and bound volumes of EIM are available from the publisher. Contact TEE Publishing, England (details on the Suppliers Page, and many thanks to Nick Jones for this information).

Following the three and five cylinder radials, Gerald began a seven cylinder engine based around the same concepts. Sadly he was unable to complete it before his death, but the family gave the project to John Scott who completed the engine to a quality of workmanship and mechanical precision that are a fitting tribute to Gerald. The following photos, kindly provided by Eric Offen, show the engine being demonstrated by John at Old Warden, July, 2008.

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