The Carburetor Shop LLC

204 East 15th Street

Eldon, Missouri 65026

 

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VIRTUAL  MUSEUM  OF  CARBURETORS

WELCOME!

The Carburetor Shop has been acquiring unusual carburetors and related items for almost 50 years. We have enjoyed having our customers and other interested parties tour our shop for a long time. However, thanks to new local government and insurance regulations we are now mail order only and can no longer offer tours of our shop, so have decided to continue to share some unusual items with enthusiasts via the internet. It should be noted that this is not a comprehensive history of any company, rather a sampling of carburetor history.

ADMISSION

If you enjoy the tour, we ask only that you share the link with someone younger than yourself.

So let's get started! The tour is loosely arranged via carburetor manufacturing companies, and accessory manufacturing companies. Obviously, there is some overlap.

 

CARBURETOR  MANUFACTURING  COMPANIES

Autolite  |  Carter  |  Detroit  |  Ensign  |  Holley  |  Kingston  |  Linkert  |  Marvel  |  Motorcraft  |  Rayfield  |  Rochester  |  Schebler  |  Stromberg  |  Tillotson  |  Winfield  |  Zenith

Lesser known carburetor brands

 

CARBURETOR  ACCESSORY  MANUFACTURING  COMPANIES

Ballwin-Washington  |  Hawk  |  Hygrade  |  Sherman  |  Vernay

 

Autolite / Motorcraft

Autolite/Motorcraft began selling carburetors in 1957, primarily to Ford Motor Company. A.M.C. also used Motorcraft carburetors in the late 1960's and 1970's. Autolite would place a Ford tag on carburetors purchased from Carter, Holley, and Rochester; so many carburetors with a Motorcraft tag actually were made by other companies

 

Carter

One of the older carburetor companies in the USA, Carter started selling carburetors about 1909. While Carter sold to a number of smaller car manufacturers in the 1910~1920 period, Chevrolet in 1923 was Carter's first big customer. Carter was extremely successful after 1923, and by the late 1930's, according to some sources, had more than half of the carburetor business in the USA. After Penberthy quit producing the Ball & Ball design, Carter acquired the rights to produce this design from 1933 through the late 1960's. Carter introduced the W series in 1931 with the W-2 used by Nash. The W series went through the W-0, W-1, WA-1, WE, W-2 single barrel carbs, the WD-0, WCD, and WGD two-barrel carbs, and the WCFB four-barrel carbs. In 1950, the Y series was introduced. The Y series consisted of the YF, YH (horizontal) and YS (sealed) single barrel carburetors. Carter also produced the BBS (single barrel) and BBD (two barrel carburetors). In 1957, Carter introduced the AFB 4-barrel which became one of the more successful carburetors, both in the original equipment market and the aftermarket. Carter produced the AFB is sizes from 400 CFM to 950 CFM. Carter also had their "price leader" models. These would include the afore-mentioned Ball & Ball design, the AS (late 1950's), and RBS which superseded the AS. Carter also produced the ABD two-barrel to compete with the Autolite 2100 for Ford vehicles, but other than Lincoln from 1959~1962, the ABD had few buyers.

 

Bottom view of the Carter "trapdoor" NASCAR AFB carburetor from 1963

The Carter Engineering Division prototype metering rod lathe. Features a collet chuck, a 3450 RPM motor, and a four equally distance blade cutter contained in the tailstock. With a skilled operator, able to cut metering rods to the hundred-thousandth of an inch. Hand-built for Carter in 1929 when Carter began using metering rod technology.

Carter aftermarket strip-kit containing several different metering rods, metering jets, and different orifice fuel valves for performance and racing modifications. The original group of 16 covered MOST WCFB, AFB, AVS, and TQ carburetors. As usual, dealers starting complaining about too much inventory, thus Carter eliminated the WCFB kits, and consolidated the AFB and TQ kits, producing less efficient kits. The "10" series in the styrofoam boxes, as pictured, are the more useful kits.

 

 

1935 Carter Master Tool Kit. Carter produced tool kits in three groups: the Master Kit for the carburetor technician that rebuilt all Carter carbs, the Junior kit with common tools spanning all makes, and several different dealer kits that would contain common tools for one car make, i.e. Pontiac.

Second generation toolbox, used from about 1946 through about 1955.

Third generation toolbox, used from about 1956 and newer. Note this is a dealer kit, rather than a Master or Junior kit, so there are several empty holes.

The sign could be ordered, but the Factory School Graduate addition required graduation from the Carter carburetor school. The last instructor was Ty Hughes, who is now teaching carburetors in a better world. He is missed.

 

 

 

Side view of the Carter WCFB four-barrel prototype showing the "X" (experimental) number. In alphabetic order, Carter, Rochester, and Stromberg introduced four-barrel passenger carburetors in 1952. I will leave the argument of who was first to our visitors.

Top view (note bronze airhorn) of the same prototype.

Carter specialty cabinet containing tuning and replacement jets, springs, fuel valves, rods, and chokes for the Carter aftermarket performance carburetors

Carter specialty wall display cabinet with jets, fuel valves, and rods for Competition Series carburetors.

 

 

Lighted counter-top rack to display three updraft and three downdraft carburetors from about 1935. The glove is lighted.

New old stock Carter type YH number 2066s with manual choke as used on the 1953~1954 Corvette. The choke housings were zinc diecast, and broke often.

Carter WGD used as original equipment on a few 1949~1950 Oldsmobiles, along with the infamous Rochester type AA. While scarce, these carbs are vastly superior to the always troublesome type AA. The biggest issue facing the enthusiast wishing to change is the availability of the special adapter (pictured) to allow the original air cleaner to be used (no, I don't have any extras). See the Rochester section to see the type AA.

Carter type ABD 2-barrel carburetor; designed to sell against the Autolite 2100 and Holley 2300 2-barrels for Fords. Although better city drivability and much better city fuel economy than the other two, the ABD, with Carter metering rod technology, was more expensive. Lincoln used it for several years, but too expensive for Fords. Carter did offer aftermarket versions for Ford, but most buyers shopped price.

 

 

Detroit Lubricator

Detroit Lubricator, and a division Stewart, produced carburetors from 1913 through 1937. Some of their customers included Cadillac V-12 and V-16 engines in the 1930's, Dodge Brothers from 1914~1928, Ford's first V-8 in 1932 and 1933, and Packard from 1905~1932.

 

 

Packard Air Valve bowl cover, proving the Packard Air Valve carburetors were manufactured by Detroit Lubricator

Two views of the Detroit Lubricator type 51 used on the V-12 Cadillac. A similar model was used on the V-16

 

 

 

 

Ensign

Ensign produced carburetors for trucks and tractors. In the 1930's, I.H.C. acquired the rights to Ensign, and continued to use the Ensign design which is referred to as an IHC carburetor in the INC literature.

 

 

 

 

Ensign carburetor sign. Only one I have seen.

 

 

 

 

 

Holley

Holley is probably the oldest well-known carburetor company in the USA. Originally known as Holley Brothers, the first carburetors produced were a French licensed Longuemare carburetor approximately 1901. In 1904, Holley introduced their own design. Holley has produced carburetors for cars, trucks, marine applications, and aircraft. Holley's biggest early customer was probably Ford, as Ford used various Holleys, among other makes of carburetor, on the Model T, and the later Model A. In the 1930's, Bracke, which was listed as a division of Holley, sold a number of experimental carburetors to Ford. These were tried, but not overly successful. Bracke also produced carburetors for the marine trade. Another company, Chandler-Groves sold carburetors which were marked Chandler Groves, manufactured by Holley. I am not positive of the connection. Chandler Groves produced a single-barrel for Packard and Plymouth; but these only lasted a couple of years. But Chandler Groves also sold the model AA-1, which would later carry the Holley name, and was generally known among hotrodders a the Holley 94. Holley produce a D series carburetor, both as a single barrel and a two barrel for the marine industry, approximate years 1929~1953. As no one at The Carburetor Shop has an FAA license, we will not discuss the Holley aircraft carburetors, other than to state some were produced. In the 1950's Holley tried some unusual designs. Two and four barrel carburetors were produced with an overhead bowl design; models 1901, 2140, and 4000. The model 4000 has been given a number of nicknames by enthusiasts, such as "teapot" Holleys, and "haystack" Holleys. Single barrel carbs were designed with a bowl on the side, which decreased the height of the carburetor. The end-bowl design was adapted to the two barrel and four barrel carburetors in 1957; the two barrel was the 2300 model, and the four barrel was the 4150 model

Holley Carburetor price sheet from 1908

One of the more common early Holley carburetors that one will see today

The experimental Bracke tested on 1000 1933 Ford V-8 cars.

1963 Ford 3x2 set-up, with 3 Holley type 2300 2-barrel carburetors.

 

 

 

One of the Holley model 4000 "haystack Holleys". Note list number 1074 stamped on the edge of the flange.

Chander-Groves, division of Holley, parts cabinet from the late 1930's

 

 

 

 

Kingston

Kingston was a very popular make in the early days of the industry. Kingston produced carburetors for cars, trucks, agricultural, industrial, and marine engines. The earliest record in our files of Kingston is 1903, and they continued to produce carburetors at least through the late 1930's.

 

 

Kingston original equipment carburetor used on the 1903-1904 Ford

Kingston original equipment carburetor for 1904 Oldsmobile

 

 

 

Linkert

Linkert, original known as Langsenkamp-Linkert or L & L, carburetors were manufactured in Indianapolis. Early products included replacement service parts for Stromberg, Carter, and Ball & Ball carburetors. There are links with Schebler, Hawk, and Sherman; but I am unsure of the links so these may be left to the investigation of the reader. Early Linkert catalogs show the Linkert model LD as replacing the Shebler model D, the models M and MR which appear to be Schebler motorcycle carburetors. A model R undraft universal, and a model DD downdraft universal are also listed. A cabinet is pictured which is identical to the Hawk aftermarket cabinet in style, lettering, font, everything except the name. The cabinet is pictured under Hawk / Sherman. As far as I am aware, Linkert original equipment carburetors were used only by Harley-Davidson

 

Marvel

Marvel is another one of the older carburetor companies. I have records of Marvel carburetors for original equipment use from 1910~1939. Many early Marvel carburetors used the Marvel Heat Control System, which basically routed the air/fuel mixture through a tube inserted into a chamber which was part of the exhaust system. A dash control provided the operator a method to control the amount of heat. Buick was Marvel's largest customer, beginning in 1912, and exclusively from 1914~1933. In 1934, Buick added Stromberg as a second carburetor vendor, but continued to use Marvels along with Stromberg through 1938.

Marvel Sales & Service master book about 1930 back to 1916. Very comprehensive.

Exceptionally rare Marvel Sales & Service bulletins. Marvel issued bulletins on a regular basis to update the Master book. In 50 years, have seen only 2 of these

One of a number of different Marvel parts cabinets. These contained an excellent selection of jets, fuel valves, air valve springs, and other parts

Marvel factory carburetor tool set. Only one I have ever seen.

 

 

 

Two views of two-barrel Marvel updraft number 10-1577

 

 

 

 

 

Rayfield

Rayfield carburetors were produced by the Findeisen & Kropf Company, in Chicago. While Rayfield produced some exceptionally detailed manuals for the industry, the manuals do NOT reference if the application is original or aftermarket; thus it is difficult to research Rayfield applications. Our records show applications from 1910 through 1927 for original equipment.

 

 

Two different views of a wooden Rayfield parts cabinet from circa 1915.

 

 

 

 

 

Rochester

Rochester Carburetor is a division of GM, and produced their first carburetor, the type AA two-barrel, for Oldsmobile in 1949. This model featured air intake from the back, thus lowering the total height of the carburetor, and a gear driven accelerator pump. The type AA was discontinued after two years of production. Rochester added a single-barrel carburetor in 1950, which was original equipment on the Chevrolet 6-cylinder for many years. Rochester introduced the model BB two-barrel in 1951, but it survived only a single year. In 1952, Rochester introduced the 4-Jet a.k.a. 4G a.k.a. quadra-jet. The quadra-jet reference is not a mis-print, as the 4G series was referred to as a quadra-jet in many Rochester documents. This has caused much confusion among enthusiasts who know the quadra-jet as the 4M (spread-bore) series introduced in 1965. The Rochester documentation refers to BOTH as quadra-jets. Rochester introduced a two-barrel in the G series in 1955. The 2G, in addition to being a great home-to-market carburetor, was the backbone of many factory multiple carburetor set-ups. The three two-barrel set-up was introduced in 1957 by Oldsmobile on the J2 option; but made famous by Pontiac as a "tripower". The 2G series lasted into the 1980's. In 1965, Rochester introduced the 4M series, on the Chevrolet 396. The Quadrajet or Q-Jet, was one of the most successful of all 4-barrel carburetors. Used primarily by GM, Ford also used the carburetor in the early 1970's on their 429 CID.

Rochester 4-barrel carburetor known a "4-Jet", "4-G" and "Quadri-jet". Note the position of the identification tag

Rochester 4-barrel carburetor known a "4-Jet", "4-G" and "Quadri-jet". Note the position of the identification tag. Note also the position of the stamped last four digits of the tag number, in this case 7221 from 7007221 that is SOMETIMES present, even if the tag is not present.

Rochester 4-MV a.k.a. Q-Jet, Quadrajet 7028273 (Pontiac Ram Air) note the dust cover (boot) covering the accelerator pump shaft. The choke pull-off is a replacement, as the originals were gray and black plastic, rather than white plastic.

Two Rochester type 4-GC 4-barrel carburetors used on the 1955 Cadillac El Dorado

 

Rochester type RC sidedraft carburetor, complete with alcohol control valve, vacuum controls, and turbocharger that was factory equipment on the Oldsmobile Jetfire

The infamous Rochester "flattop" type AA used on 1949 and 1950 Oldsmobiles, Rochester's first carburetor. Always troublesome, these carbs were discontinued after 2 years. For current enthusiasts, the solution is the Carter WGD which, while original, was used on only a few original applications, so sometimes difficult to find. See the Carter section.

Internal troublesome "innovations" used on the Rochester AA. The accelerator pump is a gear-driven diaphragm (center). Rochester put the diaphragm in the rebuilding kits, but mechanics had difficulty getting the gears synchronized, so then Rochester started selling the assembled pump in its housing (left). The vacuum piston assembly housing is cast, rather than stamped. To my knowledge never available in the aftermarket. The enthusiast must disassemble, and then reuse the stem and spring with a new diaphragm.

The Rochester type BB replaced the type AA. Used for 1 year only, on Oldsmobile and Cadillac, and then discontinued. Rochester discontinued making 2-barrel carbs until 1955 when they introduced the 2G series, which continued into the 1980's.

 

 

Schebler

Originally known as the Wheeler-Schebler Carburetor Company for its two founders, Frank Wheeler and George Schebler. The company started approximately 1904, and continued through the early 1930's. While Wheeler-Sehebler was the correct name, most refer to the carburetors as Scheblers. Most Schebler models were single-barrels, but the company did sell an updraft two-barrel called the S-duplex in the late 1920's and early 1930's.

 

 

Two views of the Schebler S-Duplex number SX-389 used on the J Duesenberg

 

Schebler model O, used on the 1913 Buick model 25

 

 

 

Stromberg

Stromberg started selling carburetors in 1909. The carburetor was originally known as the "Goldberg", the name of the chief engineer, but changed to Stromberg very quickly. Strombergs with the Goldberg cover are quite scarce. Stromberg sold carburetors through the 1974 model year. GMC trucks, with their V-6, was Stromberg's last customer. When GMC changed to a re-badged Chevrolet in 1975, Stromberg lost its last customer.

 

 

"Goldberg" extremely early Stromberg bowl cover

Difficult to see in the picture, but under the "Stromberg Carburetors" is the line "Formerly known as the Goldberg"

Wooden card file box from 1920. Stromberg issued "specification cards" for each of their carburetors. There was a style of card for original equipment carburetors, and another style for aftermarket carburetors.

Sample specification card

 

 

Production Master - Stromberg type EE-7/8 number A-17690, known to the hot rod world as the Stromberg 81. Production masters were the official calibration for the specific applications. Occasional units would be pulled from the assembly line, and the calibration compared to the production masters.

Production Master - Stromberg type EE-1 number A-18271, known to the hot rod world as the Stromberg 97. One of the most important, if not one of the best, carburetors ever built. In the 1930's and 1940's, salvage yards were full of Ford V-8's, and the Stromberg EE-1's were cheap. The hotrodders that could not afford Winfields or the specialty Rileys, used the Stromberg EE-1.

Bottom of the Stromberg prototype 3-barrel from the mid-1930's, supposedly to be used in tandem on the Cadillac V-12 engines. Unfortunately, Cadillac discontined the engine and continued the V-16.

Stromberg counter-top display originally holding rebuilding kits and gasket sets on top, with small parts (fuel valves, pumps, etc.) in the drawer

 

 

Stromberg passenger and truck carburetor tool kit from 1930's. Note the empty positions in the tray. Stromberg offered a more expensive kit using the same box which also contained a set of reamers. Very few kits were sold containing the reamers.

Early 1930's Stromberg metal parts cabinet. Drawers were stackable, and could be added as necessary.

Late 1930's Stromberg metal parts cabinet, with parts index. Drawers were stackable, and could be added as necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

Tillotson

Early Tillotson literature is scarce. The earliest verifiable application for Tillotson is 1915. There may have been earlier applications unknown to us. While early Tillotsons were used on cars, trucks, tractors, and marine applications; by 1935, Tillotsons were mostly used on outboard marine engines, with a very few tractor applications. A few heavy duty carbs were produced for the military during WWII. Post WWII, Tillotson mostly concentrated on small engine applications.

 

 

 

Tillotson cabinet. The glass bottles contain a variety of screws, jets, fiber washers, springs, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Winfield

Winfield manufactured a rotary throttle carburetor for the aftermarket. I have no record that the Winfield was used as original equipment on anything. The Winfield caught on with the performance enthusiasts, perhaps because of the Winfield (Ed Winfield was an extremely successful racing driver) name.

 

 

 

 

Winfield factory master catalog

 

 

 

 

 

Zenith

Zenith-USA is one of the older carburetor companies, that still survives today. Early Zenith literature is scarce, and the earliest confirmed application in my database is 1912. Zenith produced carburetors for cars, trucks, industrial, agricultural, marine, small engine, and aircraft applications. Zenith also produced tools, cabinets, and other related carburetor products.

 

 

 

Zenith mileage tester. Metered a small measured amount of gasoline. This could be attached directly to a carburetor, bypassing the fuel pump, to determine mileage.

 

 

 

 

Lesser known carburetor brands

 

Duff Engineering patent cutaway. There is no evidence this unit made it past the prototype stage. Note the rotary throttle which is gear driven.

The Fish M-1 carburetor. Will say no more!

The "Pogue" carburetor, manufactured by the "Winnipeg Carburetor Company". The original ultra high mileage carburetor. In more than 60 years of working on carburetors, have yet to speak to anyone that had one on a running engine.

The Woodworth "VCCV" vacuum controlled constant velocity carburetor. Also associated with Kendig, and the forerunner of the Preditor.

 

Juhacz rotary throttle carburetor. A number of carburetor companies tried to make a rotary throttle carburetor work. All of which I am aware had part throttle and acceleration issues. Winfield was by far the most successful, as it was used primarily for racing (wide open throttle).

Master rotary throttle carburetor. The only rotary throttle carburetor that I am aware of with an original equipment application. Both Austin and Owen-Magnetic tried a Master on factory race cars in 1915.

Mallory, of ignition systems fame, offered an aftermarket single barrel carburetor in the 1930's for Chevrolet, Ford, and Plymouth 6 cylinder engines.

The Penberthy Ball & Ball type DV (double venturi). If one visits several of the various automotive forums on the internet, one will doubtless find a reference to the first 4-barrel carburetor used by the 1918 Oldsmobile. The Penberthy Ball & Ball carburetor, like MANY other makes, used auxiliary air valves. Somehow some enthusiasts have determined that 2 barrels plus 2 auxiliary air valves add up to 4 barrels? even though Penberthy advertised the carburetor in 1918 as being a double venturi.

 

 

 

The Riley carburetor. A pair of these on a Ford A were the hot set-up for those who could afford them.

The Flynn, which to my understanding, was a later extension of the Riley.

 

 

 

 

Ballwin-Washington

Ballwin-Washington was a company that produced a large selection of carburetor parts for the carburetor rebuilding market. There are links to Hawk, Sherman, Pacco, and Ace Electric as to the ownership of Ballwin-Washington. They produced some very elaborate catalogs to market their carburetor parts.

 

Hawk / Sherman

Hawk and Sherman, like Ballwin-Washington, were suppliers of carburetor parts to the carburetor rebuilding industry. Additionally, Hawk offered a retail cabinet of a vast selection of carburetor parts.

 

The Hawk retail cabinet and contents

 

 

 

 

Hygrade

Hygrade was probably the best well-known, and had the widest selection of aftermarket carburetor parts beginning in the 1930's. In addition to carburetor parts, Hygrade offered tool sets, retail cabinets, retail rebuilding work stations, and some fabulous cataloging.

 

Two views of the Hygrade float adjustment gauge for updraft carburetors. The fitting was screwed into the bowl drain hole in the carburetor, and the fuel level in the bowl would be displayed in the glass tube. The technician could take measurements, then remove the bowl cover and fuel valve and make adjustments.

 

Hygrade aftermarket brass float for early Marvel carburetors, replacing the troublesome cork float.

 

 

 

Three views of the Hygrade Specialized Service  workstation. The work area is appoximately 32 inches tall. The entire workstation is more than 6 feet tall. There is a foldable parts tray on each side, a pedestal where carburetors may be mounted, a tank for either air pressure or vacuum, and a fuel pump tester (on the right). The first drawer under the work area contains a number of special tools produced by Hygrade. The rest of the drawers are full of carburetor, fuel pump and speedometer rebuilding parts, as are the glass jars.

 

 

 

 

 

Vernay

The Vernay Corporation produced fuel valves (a.k.a. needle and seat assemblies) with the neopreme tip for carburetors. As their market was wholesale only, to the carburetor companies, and the aftermarket repair kit companies, memorabilia is scarce. However, they did produce an interesting paperweight. This is a transparent plastic cube of 2 1/2 inches.