This “Little Brother” hit n’ miss engine was built by Mr. Hallock (first name unknown). A hit n’ miss engine is a type of 4-stroke internal combustion engine that was conceived in the late 19th century and was produced by various companies from the 1890s through approximately the 1930s. The name comes from the method of speed control that is implemented on these engines (as opposed to the “throttle governed” method of speed control). The sound made when the engine is running is a distinctive “POP whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh POP” as the engine fires and then coasts until the speed decreases and needs to fire again to maintain its average speed.

Hit n’ miss engines were made by a multitude of engine manufacturers during their peak usage, which was from approximately 1910 through the early 1930s when they began to be replaced by more modern designs. Some of the largest engine manufacturers were Hercules, International Harvester (McCormick Deering), John Deere and Fairbanks Morse.

This particular engine features a governor in the center of one of the flywheels, and spark is provided by a Model T Ford ignition coil. The engine is gray with red flywheels and features a brass exhaust stack. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the builder, Mr. Hallock.

The "Little Brother" hit n' miss engine.

Exhibit added: March 2, 2011 - Last modified: March 30, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship