White and Middleton

White and Middleton
White and Middleton Gas Engine Company
Industry Internal combustion engine manufacture
Founded Late 19th century
Founder(s) Charles White, Arthur R. Middleton
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Products Engines

The White and Middleton Gas Engine Company was a manufacturer of internal combustion engines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States.


Company history

1898 illustration of a White and Middleton engine. Note the large twin flywheels that serve to smooth the power output of this single-stroke engine.

The company was founded and operated during most of its existence by Charles White and Arthur R. Middleton.[1] The company exhibited in the Machinery Hall at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.[2]

The engines the company manufactured could be powered either by natural gas or by gasoline.[3] They were employed for such varied uses as powering riverboats,[4] generating electricity for local power grids,[3] grinding coffee for both industrial coffee processors and coffee shops,[4] and driving submarines.

White and Middleton engines were used both in the original Victorian era Argonaut-class submarines of Simon Lake[5][6] and in the Lake Torpedo Boat Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut and sold to the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Imperial Navies during the decade preceding World War I. Two later Lake submarine models, the G-1 and G-2 which were purchased by the United States Navy, also utilized White and Middleton engines.[8] A White and Middleton engine powered the electrical generator for Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.[9]

The rising success of the company as the new century dawned permitted the opening of a distribution subsidiary in Chicago, Illinois.[10] In 1912 Charles White purchased Arthur R. Middleton's interest in the company and the firm was dissolved by mutual agreement, with the engines continuing to be produced by The Charles White Gas Engine Company.[11] The company was eventually sold to Richard Thomas.[10] Later U.S. Naval records list the company headquarters as Springfield, Ohio.[12][13]


In 1898 White and Middleton produced nine different sizes of engine.[14] Some models were approved by Underwriters Laboratories.[15]

An engine of the ordinary four-cycle type, for gas or gasoline, is made by the White & Middleton Company, Baltimore, in sizes from 4 to 50 B.H.P. In this motor the valve shaft is replaced by spur-gearing. Ignition is by a tube with a timing valve, the spindle of which is worked from the motor piston. Ports are also uncovered by the piston, through which part of the exhaust products escape; the remainder are discharged at the end of the stroke through a valve worked by a rod and levers from the crank shaft, through a slide and cam. The same rod actuates the spindle of the gas valve. Both exhaust and admission are thrown out of gear by the governor if the normal speed is exceeded. If the engine is driven with gasoline a small oil pump is substituted for the gas valve-rod, and is controlled on the "hit-and-miss " principle by the governor.

A Text-book on Gas, Oil, and Air Engines, 1903[16]

Performance data

Sample data on tests of 30hp White and Middleton engines from the U.S. Bureau of Mines[17]
Brake horsepower Indicated horsepower Friction horsepower Per cent. rated load Mechanical efficiency
\dfrac{\mbox{b.hp.}}{\mbox{i.hp.}} \times 100 \dfrac{\mbox{b.hp.}}{\mbox{b.hp.} + \mbox{avg. f.hp.}} \times 100
11.8 18.5 6.7 39.0 64.0 64.0
8.0 16.0 7.1 26.7 50.0 54.4
5.9 11.7 5.8 19.7 50.4 46.8
2.9 10.1 7.2 9.7 28.7 30.2


  1. ^ Wasserfachmännern, Deutscher Verein von Gas- und (1889), "Neue Patente", Schilling's Journal für Gasbeleuchtung und verwandte Beleuchtungsarten sowie für Wasserversorgung. Organ des Deutschen Vereins von Gas- und Wasserfachmännern. (München und Leipzeg: R. Oldenbourg): 778, OCLC 49463903, http://books.google.com/?id=vgkAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PPA778,M1 
  2. ^ Handy, Moses Purnell (1893), World's Columbian Exposition 1893 Official Catalogue, Part VI, Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, p. 18, OCLC 49463903, http://books.google.com/?id=2A8LAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage 
  3. ^ a b Spies, Albert (May 1893), "Modern Gas and Oil Engines", Cassier's Magazine (New York: Cassier Magazine Company) IV (19): 25, OCLC 1553491, http://books.google.com/?id=5_RMAAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PPA25,M1 
  4. ^ a b Steuart, William C. (circa 1964-1967), "The Steamboat That Wasn't", Steamboat Bill: Official Journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America (Chatham, NJ: Steamship Historical Society of America): 132, ISSN 0039-0844, OCLC 1766486 
  5. ^ Lake, Simon (1899), "Voyaging Under the Sea", The English Illustrated Magazine (London: Ingram Brothers) XXI: 44, OCLC 150357907, http://books.google.com/?id=vgkAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PPA778,M1 
  6. ^ Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute (Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute), 1899, ISSN 0041-798X, OCLC 2496995 
  7. ^ Hearings beginning March 9, 1908-April 30, 1908. House of Representatives, United States Select committee under House Resolution 288, Washington, D. C, X, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1908, p. 922, OCLC 49463903, http://books.google.com/?id=7bIuAAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PPA922,M1  LCCN 08035502
  8. ^ Friedman, Norman (1995), U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, p. 256, ISBN 9781557502636, OCLC 30893019 
  9. ^ "A Technological Tour of the Biltmore Estate - The Dynamo Room". LEARN NC / UNC at Chapel Hill School of Education. http://alpha.learnnc.org/lp/editions/biltmore-techtour/10. Retrieved 2008-05-21. (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5XyXN3PjY)
  10. ^ a b Harvey, Paul E. (2000), "Arthur R. Middleton – A Legacy of Engineering Genius", Bores & Strokes (Coolspring, PA: Coolspring Power Museum) 11 (1) 
  11. ^ The Gas Engine: A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of the Gas-Engine Industry (Cincinnati, Ohio: The Gas Engine Publishing Company) XIV (3), March 1912  LCCN 06007583
  12. ^ Mooney, James L. (1976), Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, United States Government Printing Office, p. xxii, OCLC 2475490 
  13. ^ Bauer, Karl Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991), Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. xxiii, ISBN 0313262020, http://books.google.com/?id=HT1UA3r7RHMC&printsec=frontcover#PPR23,M1 
  14. ^ Hiscox, Gardner Dexter (1898), Gas, Gasoline, and Oil Vapor Engines; A New Book Descriptive of Their Theory and Power. Illustrating Their Design, Construction, and Operation, for Stationary, Marine, and Vehicle Motive Power, New York: Norman W. Henley and Company, p. 271, OCLC 395760, http://books.google.com/?id=zRsOAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PPA271,M1 
  15. ^ "Underwriters' Laboratories' Recent Approvals of Appliances", Safety Engineering: Prevention of Needless Waste by Fires and Accidents (New York: The Safety Press, Inc.) 29 (4): 383, April, 1915, OCLC 395760, http://books.google.com/?id=GNcMAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage 
  16. ^ Donkin, Bryan (1900), A Text-book on Gas, Oil, and Air Engines, London: Charles Griffin & Company, Limited, p. 363, OCLC 3566890, http://books.google.com/?id=30xDAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage 
  17. ^ Fernald, Robert Heywood; Orrok, George Alexander (1916), Engineering of Power Plants (1st ed.), New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, p. 408, OCLC 2004221, http://books.google.com/?id=AFVDAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PPA408,M1 

External links

  • Photo from the late 20th century that appears to include the son of Arthur Middleton and a restored White and Middleton engine in the background. Archived by WebCite here.

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