The Vereeniging was 'born' in 1898 with a Van Rennes parrafin engine like this:
|Thanks to Debinnevaart.nl for this image|
This served the Mur family until 1921 when it was replaced by the single cylinder semi-diesel hot bulb engine I described in my earlier post. When I bought the Vereeniging, this lovely old beast had been lovingly restored by the previous owner. In actual fact, I think the barge itself was merely the housing for the engine as far as he was concerned. I was very proud of my Industrie motor for many years, but the truth of the matter was that it did rather dictate what we did with the barge. It was very difficult to start - needing large quantities of compressed air and a good technique for 'bursting' the air into the cylinder - not to mention gas bottles to fuel the burner for pre-heating it. The process of getting it going took a good half hour but if you counted in the time it took to fill the air bottles, this was more like an hour and a half.
Then, when we were on the way, I had to constantly re-fill its little oil pots that were positioned around its bulk because all the wonderful, but largely mechanical moving parts had to be kept lubricated. This meant diving down into the engine room at regular intervals and risking losing limbs in my attempt to avoid the spinning (and massive) fly wheel as I topped up each of these small receptacles.
Nevertheless, I was happy to put up with this as long as the engine remained reliable. In the end, though, it wasn't. It let us down on three separate occasions, the worst of which was when it just died in the middle of the Hollandsch Diep - a huge open stretch of water between two of Holland's southern peninsulars. In many ways, this was the deciding event for me and I realised with a mixture of sadness and resignation that much as I loved the Industrie, I wanted to 'fare' safely even more. The engine had to go. Here is the film of when it was removed with dear friend Philip (of Watery Ways fame), who bought it, looking on.
However, I still wasn't prepared to sacrifice authenticity completely and as a replacement, I found a 1955 Samofa two cylinder engine - another classic, but easier to both turn over by hand and also to convert to electric start. It took a massive amount of work to install it and adjust it for the Vereeniging, but in the end, with its push button starter, I was delighted with my 'new' old motor. And best of all, it still made the same wonderful clapping sound as the Industrie did. Here below is the film I made of it being installed.
So there we are. That is the story of the Vereeniging's engine. The Samofa is still going well and so far, has never let us down. We don't fare far these days (my work is too busy), but when we do, we can at least just start and go… and keep going...and we still have a wonderful old classic to show for it.