Rotary engines]

Bill Shatzer (
Wed, 7 Dec 1994 03:05:14 -0500

From: (unknown)
Subject: Rotary engines
Date: Wed, 07 Dec


Yes, the story of the rotary engine is fantastic and today you have a
hard time convincing people who have never heard of them that they were
actually made!

BTW, the little blip you sent doesn't mention one of the key reasons that
they WERE made: They did not need a fuel pump system. As I understand
it, and please remember that some of this goes back to readings of 35 and
40 years ago(!), the fuel was drained from the tank by gravity and sent
through a hollow engine axle to the center of the engine. The spinning
of the engine created centrifugal force which squirted the fuel into the
cylinders. I'm sure it was more complicated than my non-technical
understanding of it, but I believe the whole idea was to get fuel to the


I *think* the idea behind the rotary engine was *cooling*. As the engine
was constantly rotating, there was a constant airflow over the cylinders
and thus a constant cooling of the air-cooled engine. During the 1914-1918
era, there was obviously no great difficulty in designing and building
a decent fuel distribution system (with or without a fuel pump) which
didn't require a rotary engine. Witness the SE5 and the Salmson and the
JN-4 and numerous tanks and trucks and armored cars and automobiles
which managed quite nicely without a rotary engine. Cheers, Bill


Bill Shatzer - -