1916 Bournonville Aero-Engine?


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Jul 25, 2007
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Bournonville 160 hp Aero-Engine of 1916

In early 1916, Polson Iron Works of Toronto completed its M.F.P. B-2 biplane prototype powered by a 125-130 hp Hall-Scott straight-6 engine (almost certainly of A-5 type). But planned production aircraft were to be offered with an optional 160 hp Bournonville powerplant.

Does anyone have anything on this 1916 Bournonville engine?

I think it's fairly safe to assume that this engine was connected with the prolific Belgian inventor, Eugene Marie Bournonville. In February 1914, Bournonville filed a US Patent for an "Internal-combustion engine". In fact, the patent refers to "new and useful improvements in Internal-Combustion Engines" and then describes Bournonville's concept for for cylindrical rotary valves. The patent neither describes nor illustrates an actual engine below the valvetrain. [1]

Internal-combustion engine, US 1119494 A, filed 11 Feb 1914, published 1 Dec 1914
Inventor: Eugene M Bournonville, Original Assignee: Eugene M Bournonville

In September 1915, the same patent was filed in Canada as Patent CA 166049. http://patents.ic.gc.ca/opic-cipo/cpd/eng/patent/166049/summary.html?

The timing of these patents suggests that they may be at least related to the planned 160 hp aero-engine. Desite that, filing a duplicate Canadian patent does nothing to firmly connect that patent to the announced 160 hp Bournonville engine for the Canadian-built M.F.P. B-2 prototype.

So, my first question is: Was there ever a complete, original Bournonville 160 hp aero-engine? Or did E.M. Bournonville simply intend to apply his rotary valvetrain to any existing engine design? And, if the latter, what engine type was to have been the basis of this rotary valve conversion?

Industrial Connections?

Prior to WWI, Eugene Bournonville was best know for his patented work on oxy-acetylene welding through the Jersey City-based firm Davis-Bournonville Co. Davis-Bournonville [2] also made machine tools - including steel-tube grinders used to create aero-engines (eg: the Liberty V-12s). So, did the Davis-Bournonville Co. intend to move into aircraft engine design and production during WWI?

Post-WWI, Bournonville was involved in the design of rotary sleeve valves for automobile engines - his Bournonville Rotary Valve Motor Co. of Hoboken, NJ was established in 1921. In the 1920s, Eugune Bournonville was also President of Bournonville Motors Company. This firm's name strongly suggests the manufacture of complete engines. But Hoboken-based Bournonville Motors Company was also connected with rotary valve engines ... so this may have simply have been a rebranding of the Bournonville Rotary Valve Motor Co. The best-known application of Eugene Bournonville rotary valve design was the Belgian Minerva-Bournonville engines of the 1920s.

Any additional info or leads on a 1916 Bournonville aero-engine would be greatly appreciated.


[1] The patent describes "... a rotary cylindrical valve for multicylinder engines whereby fuel gases containing a percentage of lubricant are conducted in contact with the surface of the valve throughout its length, and are concerned more especially with a construction wherein the valve is cooled by fresh gases ... flowing through its interior and thence admitted to an intake manifold, the valve having external pockets in its sides which alternately connect a single port in each cylinder with the intake manifold and with the exhaust. [...] In the particular construction the intake manifold itself is in free communication with the surface of the valve throughout the length of the latter and performs the lubricating function."

[2] The the Airco-Davis-Bournonville Apparatus Co. was also a machine-making firm - but I'm not sure if this was a subsidiary or a completely separate company.


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