Saturday, March 8, 2008

Inside Factory #27


Rear detail without flash.

With flash.

Data plate at the rear. "I still believe this was the engine on display in the lobby of the main entrance of the Buick office on Hamilton Avenue in 1920".

Nice over all view.

Close up of nose section.

The engine has been returned from the Kalamazoo museum.

A vintage photo of the Sloan engine.

This Liberty engine is on loan to the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum. It is owned by the Sloan Museum in Flint.

Just a non-retouched photo of a previous post.

Liberty engines being checked on the dynamometer.

The workers were proud back then.

This photo I believe is actually in the aluminum foundry #30.

Here the rockers are being placed on the heads.

Click this page for full story.

Here the engines are on their wheeled dolly's after testing. Notice the drip pans.

A tool collector by the name of Kent Rue sent along these four photos showing some of his beautiful collection. Here is more proof that every one has a hobby and collects something. 'Now this is my kind of hobby'.

The people that were identified in the Gustin & Dunham book for this photo are: front row 3rd from left; Charles Doll master mechanic; 4th from left is Superintendent for Liberty engines one Walter Helber. And a well known name to any Buick historian is the man 5th from left, William Beacraft the motor plant Manager. The 6th is Fred Hoelze assistant Superintendent. The reason Kent happened upon me was because of this photo that he bought in Renton, Washington, the original home of the 'miracle' plant that made the Boeing B-29 during and after World War II. He had stumbled upon this blog in search of information about this photo and wondered if I had ever seen it or knew any of the men in the photo. His main clue at the time was the poster on the back wall advertising for a dance coming up in factory #29. Knowing a lot of history himself, like any collector would, on his particular fascination with the Liberty V-12 of The Great war, "or the war to end all wars" as World War I was know before there was a second war. He was well aware of the different factories that built them during the war. He knew about the factories at Buick and their numbers. 'And that led here'. I had seen this photo before and knew exactly what it was. I had seen this particular one in the Sixth edition of "The Buick" A complete history written by well know Buick historians: Lawrence Gustin and the late Terry Dunham. I believe Terry would have had more information but this is all I had. The other similar photo I had seen was a little different and was from the book "A Place Called Buick by Don Bent. Here was my reply to Kent. Yes I do know that photo Kent and would like to use it on my blog. I'm sending attachments that have some of the information you require. The factory that photo was taken in is Buick factory #27 built specifically for building the Liberty 12. The war of coarse ended before full production could be started and that area of Buick became a somewhat dumping ground at the Buick site. In World War II they tore it down and built the new aluminum foundry for casting the cylinder heads for the Liberator engine used in B-24 and B-17 bombers. 'That factory was just demolished last yea'r. One more thing is you mentioned the poster for the dance at factory #29. Factory #29 was another factory built specifically for Liberty engine work. I have much information on my blog about that factory also and worked all around it for 25 years. The first photo that is similar to yours is from the book by Don Bent called "A Place Called Buick" The book with the same photo you now have is from "The Buick A Complete History" by Lawrence Gustin and Terry Dunham The man who I could have put you in touch with, 'who knew more than anybody on that subject' just recently passed away. Anyways I think this will answer your original question. The men whom Terry has identified in your photo are all well known pioneers in the Buick engine history. Let me know if I can help you anymore Kent. I would love to see some photos of your tools for the Liberty. I'm a tool guy also only mine are not used as collectibles. bye for now...Gerry Godin

Some more photos sent by Kent. Thanks ever so much for these photos and a little bit of scarce history.

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