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The Eagle Macomber Motor Car Company

The Eagle Macomber Company first started operations in Los Angeles building a cycle car equipped with a rotary engine during 1914. The firm was next reorganized and moved to Chicago a short while later. In late 1915 the company moved to Sandusky, Ohio and came out with a new design which we can see in these images, it was twice the size of the cycle car with a corresponding increase in engine size.

Other firms had tried the rotary engine in a car but no one was ever successful bringing one to market, apparently this rotary engine idea was more successful at the time in aircraft field, however. At the same time as these photos and information was published, it appears the company like so many others was trying to raise capital to fund production. Evidentially they were not successful and their next move was to redesign and build an even larger model, but as we see with so many of these early automobile companies, bigger was not better and they faded away into oblivion by 1918.

Note the single rocker arm above which actuated both valves, it being controlled by a round stationary grooved disc. This disc had a curved groove which was arranged to open and close both valves. The pistons transferred their motion through a wobble plate which can be viewed along with more information on the Macomber engine here. The updraft barrel carburetor can be seen on the right side, which it along the Bosch magneto to be seen on the far left had to deal with the complexities of delivering both fuel-air mixture and reliable spark to this complicated merry-go-round. Photos courtesy of Tom Jakeway.


11 responses to “The Eagle Macomber Motor Car Company

  1. Now that’s one oddball automobile, even for the pre-war era when there was so much experimentation and innovation. Completely unknown to me beforehand. Thanx, David.

  2. And those pistons converted their reciprocating motion to rotary…… ???…(please don’t tell me a “wave plate”)…..

    • Okay, I’ll tell you a “wave plate”! My Georgano’s Encyclopedia of Motorcars says, referring to the cyclecar anyway,”the five cylinders were mounted horizontally in a cylindrical pattern so that each operated against a wobble-plate cum flywheel.”

      No reason to think that this “big” Eagle operated any differently. Perhaps that’s why the design was so “successful” and the company faded into oblivion in such short order. Thanx again, David, for finding such an interesting oddball.

      • You’re very welcome, David. The animation on that site is quite enlightening. Wouldn’t want to confuse my wobble with my swash!

  3. Do a Google Patent search for patent No. 104208 issued on October 22, 1912 to W.G. Macomber. Very neat engine!

    Best regards

  4. I have a sales brochure for the Eagle-Macomber Motor Car, with an address of 1350 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. It was mailed to a man in Ransom, Illinois, in 1915. It lists the factory in Sandusky, Ohio, and Salesrooms and executive offices at the Chicago address.

  5. From research By Eric Coyner, Visalia, CA.
    Glen Macomber of MaComber auto co. in LA entered a race car (Entry No. 11) in the 1913 Panama-Pacific race from LA to Sacramento held July 4, 1913.
    The driver & mechanic were P.E. Leach and R.F. Seazighini. It was disqualified at Bakersfield.
    Very interesting design.
    I never heard of it either.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Two promises never realized:
    1. The Macomber rotary engine will replace all other types of internal combusion engines.
    2. Sandusky will become the center of American automobile manufacturing.

  7. Those engines are called “Swash Plate Engines”. I don’t know what the technology today is but years ago every ship was equipped with a steam swashplate engine used as a steering engine. Very smooth operating and could complete reverse in a flash. It seems that the big problem with gas powered ones was keeping the connecting rod rollers firmly seated on the swash plate. There was a Boston car very early on called the Heymann or Hynman or such that was moderately successful and I think another one called the Eagle. I have often wondered if there any survivors of these facenaating jalopies. I think that the Julian with the revolving engine, a la Adams Farwell still is with us somewhere. These two were “Top” of the line. certainly. capable of frightful high speeds.

  8. How do the Eagle-Mac umber rotory engine compare with the much later Rotory Engine that came out with MAZDA

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