Liberty V - 12

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Liberty V - 12

Postby TASSE » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:48 pm

A bad pic i am afraid but more would be welcome.


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Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby Sticks » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:29 am

Here is some information on the Liberty which I got from a site probably almost 10 years ago and have filed away ever since. A person named Mike Brooks wrote it not myself.

The Liberty Engine: America's Engine in the Great War.

The world was not much different on 18 December, 1903, the day
after the Wright brothers' historic "first flight." Historians tend to make
big deals about events and dates, but for most of the world, the winter of
1903 was just like any other. Even after the news of the flights spread
across the globe, few understood the eventual importance of what the
two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, had accomplished. Fewer
still had the opportunity to see the machine, or more importantly witness
its incredible abilities. It would take another five years, during the
Wright's demonstrations for the Army, before enough people saw the
airplane and created anything resembling an interest in flight. The "Age
of Flight" did not actually begin for America until 1909 when, while
Orville toured Europe with a Wright Flier, Wilber flew over New York.
Huge crowds turned out to see Wilber Wright fly along Manhattan
island, out over the harbor and around the Statue of Liberty. Public
interest continued to grow as daring young fliers set new standards for
endurance and distance; the United State's government, however,
showed little interest in developing the airplane for military uses other
than observation.
On April 2, 1917, the United States entered the Great War in Europe.
Though the United States stayed out of the European conflict as long as
it could, the government was aware of the type of war it was about to
join. World War I was a new type of war, one that would be fought and
decided with machinery. Three years of war had spurred tremendous
advances in aviation technology. The United States' isolationist policies
saved many lives by postponing our involvement in the war, but it also
handicapped America's aviation industry. The European war planes
were the cutting edge of aviation technology, and the United States
produced nothing that could compete with them. It became, therefore, a
top priority of the military leaders to bring America's technological
development to a level where it could compete with the Europeans.
Within two months of the entry of the United States into WWI, the
government enlisted the skills of two of the preeminent American engine
designers, Mr. E. J. Hall, from the Hall-Scott Company of Berkeley,
California, and Mr. J. G. Vincent, from the Packard Motor Car Company,
to design a series of aviation engines that were not only suitable for
combat in the skies of Europe, but superior to the engines currently
available. This was, of course, no easy task; the Europeans had the
benefit of three years of combat experience, and produced some very
fine engines. Some of these European engines, like the Gnome 110 h.
p. rotary engine, were adapted to American production methods, and
produced under license in this country. Though these designs
represented the pinnacle of internal combustion engine technology,
there were problems associated with the large numbers of different
types being produced by the Allies. The engines were becoming
increasingly expensive, and parts shortages often kept many of the
planes on the ground waiting shipments from the manufacturer. These
problems could be overcome, however, by producing a standardized line
of engines. This was the role that the Liberty engine would eventually
The man who was responsible for the organization and execution of
the Liberty engine's development was Edward A. Deeds. Deeds was
appointed to the Aircraft Production Board soon after the United States
entered WWI, and within days was approached by both Mr. Hall and Mr.
Vincent with aircraft engines to offer. As part of his sales pitch, Vincent
pointed out the problems the Allies were having with the multiplicity of
engine designs; Deeds was well aware of the situation, however, and
had already worked out some possible solutions to the difficulties
associated with the United States' acquisition of the weapons of war.
After Vincent's presentation and discussions with the members of the
Aircraft Production Board, Deeds asked Vincent to work with E. J. Hall
and design a United States standardized engine.
Once the decision to design an engine was made, things started
happening very quickly. On May 29, 1917, Vincent and Hall, who had
never met in person before this time, came to Deeds' suite at the New
Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., and went to work on the new eight
cylinder engine. They questioned a visiting French delegation about the
latest European designs, then set pencil to paper. With some help from
a member of the local Society of Automotive Engineers, the preliminary
drawings and a report were ready for presentation to a joint meeting of
the Army-Navy Aircraft Production Board in just two days. Permission
was given to go ahead with the compete drawings. Four days later, Hall
and Vincent presented the Board with the completed drawings, and were
given the go-ahead to build a prototype engine. The first eight cylinder
engine's delivery was promised in seven weeks.
It is hard to imagine the incredible amount of work that went into
these early stages of development, and the speed with which it was all
completed. In the days before computer aided design/drafting, an
engine manufacturer's drafting department was an extremely important
resource. All the drawings from which the engine was manufactured had
to be drawn by hand, measurements checked by a person. It was a long
and labor intensive process. The Liberty engine project, however, saw
unprecedented cooperation across the entire spectrum of the American
auto and aircraft industries, with the services of approximately 200 of the
nation's draftsmen taking part in the production of the plans for
America's engine. Parts for the first engine were made in twelve
different factories across the country, some of them before all the
drawings for the motor were competed. Only twenty-eight days after the
first drawings were started, the Aircraft Production Board had a working
prototype before them; three weeks sooner than they couldcraft engine to
come out of WWI. They were the
culmination of the years of experience gained by Hall and Vincent at the
Hall-Scott Company and the Packard Company. Some of the features
the Liberty engine can trace to Vincent's work with Packard include the
crankcase design, the light steel cylinders, camshaft and rocker arm
construction, water pump, connecting rods and bearings, oiling system,
ate, and proven features into the engine's
The only plane to see front line service during WWI was the British
designed, American built de Havilland D.H.4. The D.H.4 was a relatively
large observation / bomber plane, one that benefitted from the Liberty
engine's combination of power and light weight. The American
Government's choice of the D.H.4 for production was not made in the
same scientific manner that those types of decisions are made today;
what it basically boiled tiss NC Flying Boats), the first non-
stop trans-continental flight (1923, in the giant Fokker T2), the first
flight around the world (1924, the Douglas World Cruisers), and
was primary source of power in the hundreds of surplus D.H.4's used by
the Airmail service for many years. The engine itself under went many
changes after the war. The Liberty 12 was built in an inverted
configuration (with the crankshaft on the top of the engine, and the
cylinders hanging underneath), and even air-cooled versions saw some
use. The military continued to use the engine in their training aircraft
until the end of WWII. The Liberty 12 was the pinnacle of separate
water- jacketed cylinder engine technology; its combination of high
power and low weight was only surpassed with the arrival of cast
aluminum engine blocks, which were more rigid and could be lighter
than the cast iron cylinders of the Liberty engine. It was a brilliant
example of the resourcefulness and excellence of American engineers; it
is a monument to American technology.


Boyne, Walter J. The Aircraft Treasures of Silver Hill. New York:
Rawson Associates, 1982.

Decker, Willber F. The Story of the Engine. New York: Charles
Schribner's Sons, 1937.

Dickey, Phillip Sadtler. A History of the Liberty Engine. Dayton:
University of Dayton, thesis, 1965.

Emmons, Harold H. "Liberty Engine Supplement" Dyke's Automobile
and Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia. 9th ed.

Jane's All the World's Aircraft. 1919 ed.

Unknown. "Ancestors of the Liberty Engine." Mechanical Engineering,
vol. 51(3) (1929), 188-192.

Unknown. "Development of an American Pursuit Engine." Aviation and
Aircraft Journal, vol 11 (Dec 26, 1921), 735-738.

Unknown. "The Improved Army-Liberty Engine." Aviation, vol. 13 (Nov
13, 1922), p. 663.

Mike Brooks
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Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby flyernzl » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:44 am

"The only plane to see front line service during WWI was the British
designed, American built de Havilland D.H.4."

Well that's a typically American-centered xenophobic statement! What about the entire German and French air arms?
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Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby MrWidgeon » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:30 am

I think what they were saying was that the DH-4 with the Liberty was the only aircraft built in the US and powered by an American designed engine to see action.
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Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby MrWidgeon » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:39 am

I can offer this one.

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Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby TASSE » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:14 pm

Thanks for your reply's folks.

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Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby ant » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:25 pm

Here are a couple of pics:


Last edited by ant on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby TASSE » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:38 pm

Thanks Ant. Surely thats in a museum.

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Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby ant » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:51 pm

Yes - Smithsonian I think - Can't remember exactly.

Re: Liberty V - 12

Postby MrWidgeon » Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:23 am

I don't know about the top photo, but the bottom one is most certainly from the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida, note the NC-4 behind it.
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