Japanese stationary engines now in UK

Posted by Chris Graham on 15th August 2020

Chris Madeley spotlights three Japanese stationary engines that are now on loan to the Butterley Museum in Ripley, Derbyshire

Japanese stationary engines

Japanese stationary engines: This Kubota AHC petrol-paraffin engine develops 2.5hp at 1,300rpm or 3hp at 1,500rpm. It dates from the early 1950s. (Photo: Alan Cullen)

The engine with the large brass plate on the side of the hopper is a Kubota AHC petrol-paraffin engine, number 270070, developing 2.5hp at 1,300rpm and three horsepower at 1,500rpm. These engines were manufactured by Kubota during the early 1950s.

The engine seen from the rear is a Strong petrol-paraffin engine, which was recently featured in Stationary Engine magazine. These engines were manufactured in Okayama Prefecture in central Japan, by Iwashita Iron Works, during the 1930s. I’m afraid this is one of Japan’s many small, regional manufacturers for whom very little information has come to light, except for the engines collected by enthusiasts. The blue object in the background is a ‘Bunka’ rice polisher, used to convert brown rice into white rice, Bunka being the trade mark of the manufacturer.

Japanese stationary engines

Strong petrol-paraffin engines were manufactured in Okayama Prefecture, in central Japan, by Iwashita Iron Works during the 1930s. (Photo: Alan Cullen)

The engine with the red flywheel in the background is a Mizohuchi-Yunkeru, made by Mizohuchi Ironworks in Kagawa Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku. Again, this was a small, local firm about which almost nothing is known. This is a three horsepower petrol/ paraffin engine, and the name Yunkeru may be a reference to the German Junkers company, as there’s a picture of an aeroplane on the engine’s nameplate.

I was fortunate enough to be given all three of these engines when I worked as an English-language teacher in Japan, during the 1980s. As I recall, the Kubota came from my wife Naomi’s grandparents’ farm, on the eastern edge of Tokyo. The Strong was rescued from a scrap dealer while the Mizohuchi-Yunkeru was found on a farm in Kagawa Prefecture.

A Mizohuchi-Yunkeru 3hp petrol/paraffin engine made by Mizohuchi Ironworks in Kagawa Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku. (Photo: Alan Cullen)

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