An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Mystery V-Twin Engine Solved – 1909 Gibson Patent Discovered

Lee Stohr, who found the photos of the earlier “Mystery V-Twin Engine,” also apparently has found a patent that is connected this engine. Lee sent in one of the patent drawings and quotes from the patent application including the identification of the inventor: “Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson, a subject of the King of Great Britain and a resident of the Borough of Manhattan, in the city of New York.”

Lee also wrote: “He applied for the patent in 1909 for what appears to be this very engine. US Patent 1146864 was granted to him in 1915. It is a four-stroke engine, but the piston is stepped to also act as a pump or compressor piston. The two large valves on top of each cylinder are the intake and exhaust valve. What appears to be tuned expansion chamber intake pipes in the earlier engine photos are actually part of the compressed air system. According to his patent, Mr. Gibson intended the engine for aviation work “or other purposes where minimum weight was desired”.

1909 Gibson V-Twin 15

  • Timing side of the engine shows the V-Twin as originally conceived at some point before Nov. 1909.

Further investigation into the design of this three valve (2-intakes) four-stroke water-cooled engine shows that it is equipped with some very interesting features including: fuel injection (“liquid hydrocarbon introduced through a spray nozzle”), “refrigerator” (oil cooler), and a pressurized crankcase that assisted through a series of valves with introducing extra air during the intake stroke and the exhaust for scavenging.

A look back at the earlier article titled: From the Dust Bin of History – Intriguing Mystery V-Twin Engine will show three photos of an engine (believed to be later) that appears to have produced from this design. The complete concept and how Gibson intended it to operate can be found in the 1909 patent application.

1909 Gibson V-Twin Engine

  • Side view of the cylinder and head assembly with the intake and exhaust posts rotated 90-degress from the actual locations. 

1909 gibson v-twin enginge patent

  • Cylinder head assembly, and water pump (Fig.6) and oil cooler (Fig.7). The ignition system (below) and magneto. 

1909 gibson v-twin ignition


12 responses to “Mystery V-Twin Engine Solved – 1909 Gibson Patent Discovered

  1. Halleluia! Now I can sleep at night 🙂 Thanks for posting this, its interesting to see how far off I was on a few things! Now the question is whether it was applied anywhere. I seem to recall the name Gibson in my search through engine designs, but I don’t recall where it was. Brilliant design.

      • Just a brief look shows A. H. Gibson worked at the R.A.E during WWI with Samuel D. Heron and developed aluminum cylinders with iron sleeves, as well as cylinders that threaded to the block to provide better seal, they also experimented with hollow valves that would cool better. Heron later would leave Siddeley and go to Pratt & Whitney I believe.

  2. Very interesting.

    Some information on A.H. Gibson’s contributions to understanding heat transfer and detonation in the IC engine. Page 191 August 1920
    The Journal of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Volumes 6-7. Find and view at the g books site.

  3. Yes I will take credit for saying this engine had fuel injection! I mean it was obvious right? Bring on the next mysterious engine.

  4. THE WRIGHT BROS engine had fuel injection ! This Vee twin suggests that the Inventor had, — among other talents , — a knowledge of Acoustics and Resonances, much like: The Flow Bench in the right hands!!!
    I get the impression that the Inventor “saw beyond” the traditional practices of engine design, in what I SEE in his drawings. Edwin – 30 –

  5. It was a comment by TinIndian that gave me the idea to search for the patent. I didn’t think of that.
    Possibly the most famous early fuel injected engine was the amazing Antoinette. Designed around 1905 by Leon Levavasseur, they made roughly 1hp per 3 1/2lbs of engine weight. At a time when the Wright brothers engines made something like 1hp per 13lbs. I’ve seen a photo of a man carrying an Antoinette V16 engine on his shoulder!

  6. I really beg to differ that the wright brothers engine had fuel injection. I recently researched it during my investigation if this Gibson. The wright brothers used a quite primitive fuel delivery system that dropped fuel at a rate controlled by a inline fuel valve. The fuel dropped onto a engine heated pan where it vaporized and was introduced to the engine. No throttle valve. Once the engine reached a maximum operating speed, the plane was slid down its ramp. Very brave wright brothers! Very not, fuel injection.

  7. There is probably more data on the patent at the National Archives repository in Kansas City. They will have the original Patent Office File, and the docket will include the signed application, signed oath of allegiance, and correspondence between the inventor an the government examiners. Quite often claims to a patent are rejected, revised, and later amended.

    Recently I requested copies of the Frank Lockhart patent, and the file had 53-pages of material in it.

    Congratulations to Lee Stohr for locating the drawings & abstract!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *