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Knight vs Packard, 1910 rivalry


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I've been doing some research into C.Y. Knight and his sleeve valve design and recently came across some interesting information.  It was a description of a very public spat between Knight and Packard involving the patent rights to the sleeve valve design.

 

Apparently, in 1908 Packard purchased a Daimler Knight engine to study and test.  Two other companies, probably Peerless and Locomobile, did likewise and all three began discussions regarding the purchase of a licence to build Knight engined cars in the USA.   According to Knight, Packard also began a plan to acquire all patent rights, extinguishing Knight's rights.

 

In 1909 Packard searched the US Patent Office and found an early application for a double sliding valve system for steam engines.  They convinced the patent owner to apply for a re-issued patent after rewording it to more closely resemble the Knight design.  In 1910, armed with the re-issued patent Packard announced that they, not Knight, owned the US rights for sleeve valve engines and proposed a 50/50 split of all US royalties with Knight.

 

What followed was a series of articles, published in magazines like Motor Age and The Autocar, wherein Knight and Packard President Henry Joy sparred with each other regarding what really happened and what their intentions were.  It led to Knight's suggestion of a grueling series of tests between 3 Packards and 3 Daimler Knights, including running one of each at 20mph with no oil or water, to see which would last longer.  (Joy had claimed that the Knight engine was of no interest to them because of the damage incurred when run without oil or water.)

 

Most of the details of Packard's actions were allegations presented by Knight, with an obvious bias.  Has anyone seen anything else written about Packard's early interest in sleeve valve design and the patent rights?  Did the Knight Vs Packard Challenge ever occur?  Maybe there's a movie script here...

 

Interestingly, none of the three companies ended up building Knight engines.  In 1911, Columbia, Stearns, and Stoddard-Dayton became the first U.S. companies to build Knights, with royalites paid to C.Y. Knight's company.

 

I'd be interested to hear anything more of this short lived rivalry.

 

Peter

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Here is a cool new man cave item I just picked up for a member on this forum.......it's the Auto Show display engine for a Knight. It's from 1917, and can be hand operated or run on the electric motor underneath. It's original and unrestored. During the compression stroke the light bulb under the spark plug lights up. Very, very cool item. Post your comments..........Ed

 

The Willys Knight boy are gonna pass out when they see this thing.............

 

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I know they made a bunch of small pot metal units.......I think there are only a few of these..........this thing stands five feet tall, is motorized, and lights up in the scroll and cumbustion chamber. Works great......I have paperwork on it that says 1917.....Thoughts? 

 

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There was one of those (or similar) in The Bob Valpey collection in New Hampshire. I think it may have come up for auction recently.

I saw it the summer before Mr. Valpey passed when the Valpeys had an open house for the  Studebaker Drivers Club.

I wonder if its the same display?

Neat item.

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I agree it's a great machine and I'd love to have one.  It would be interesting to start a new thread to see how many of them are still out there, and where they are

 

But I'd like to bring this thread back to my original post - Does anyone have any more information on the 1909-10 spat between C.Y. Knight (Knight & Kilbourne) and Henry Joy (Packard Motor Co.), particularly from Packard's  side of the story?

 

Maybe some of you Packard guys out there know the story?  Or Willys / Stearns guys?

 

Peter

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Peter, I didn't mean to hijack the thread. To be honest, posting this cut away will probably get more visits to it. I know the "Stearns" guys. Most are very elderly and don't post here. AJ, can you comment on this question Peter has, or get one of the sleeve valve guys phone number to him?

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3 hours ago, JimKB1MCV said:

There was one of those (or similar) in The Bob Valpey collection in New Hampshire. I think it may have come up for auction recently.

I saw it the summer before Mr. Valpey passed when the Valpeys had an open house for the  Studebaker Drivers Club.

I wonder if its the same display?

Neat item.

 

 

No, this one came from a collection it was in since the 50's.

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   One mention of the sleeve-valve Knight in Packard, A History of the Motorcar and Company is on pg. 138: "In May of 1913, Packard announced a 200-hour test of the 38 motor at the Automobile Club of American in New York City. This was an attempt to break the steady running record then held by the sleeve-valve Knight engine, with 132 hours back in 1909..." The Packard [topping 300-hours] set a record of 12-1/2 days continuous running.

    Another mention (pg 102),  references Packard executive Milton Tibbets: "He was particularly active in seeing that important inventions produced by Packard's employees were patented and in obtaining patents from sources outside the company. In 1910, he even thought of challenging Charles Yale Knight because of Packard's 'basic patents on sleeve valve engines.' 

 

Looks like there may be more to that story.

 

 

Phil

Edited by MochetVelo (see edit history)
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In Canada, the Russell Motor Car Company had the exclusive rights to the Knight sleeve-valve engine; manufacturing it under licence, installing it in their own cars under the Russell-Knight badge.  This prevented John North Willys from marketing his sleeve-valve engine car in Canada, and in 1916, became a major share holder in Russell Motor Car Company, effectively taking over, and renaming it Willys-Overland Cars of Canada Ltd.

 

I wonder what would have happened if Packard won the case.  Would Russell Motor Car Company still have exclusive rights to the Knight engine in Canada?

 

Craig

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

How’s this? 😎

Great, thanks for digging that up.  There's lot a good background there, at least according to Knight.  He was not shy about using the media to promote his cause.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MochetVelo said:

   One mention of the sleeve-valve Knight in Packard, A History of the Motorcar and Company is on pg. 138: "In May of 1913, Packard announced a 200-hour test of the 38 motor at the Automobile Club of American in New York City. This was an attempt to break the steady running record then held by the sleeve-valve Knight engine, with 132 hours back in 1909..." The Packard [topping 300-hours] set a record of 12-1/2 days continuous running.

    Another mention (pg 102),  references Packard executive Milton Tibbets: "He was particularly active in seeing that important inventions produced by Packard's employees were patented and in obtaining patents from sources outside the company. In 1910, he even thought of challenging Charles Yale Knight because of Packard's 'basic patents on sleeve valve engines.' 

 

Looks like there may be more to that story.

 

 

Phil

Also good information, thanks.  Maybe the rivalry (spat?) went on a little longer.  I'll start looking at May, 1913, reports to see how Packard's record breaking run was reported.

 

As for Tibbetts, it was reported by Motor Age that they did more than consider a patent challenge.

 

Peter

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1 hour ago, 8E45E said:

In Canada, the Russell Motor Car Company had the exclusive rights to the Knight sleeve-valve engine; manufacturing it under licence, installing it in their own cars under the Russell-Knight badge.  This prevented John North Willys from marketing his sleeve-valve engine car in Canada, and in 1916, became a major share holder in Russell Motor Car Company, effectively taking over, and renaming it Willys-Overland Cars of Canada Ltd.

 

I wonder what would have happened if Packard won the case.  Would Russell Motor Car Company still have exclusive rights to the Knight engine in Canada?

 

Craig

Yes, Russell (actually Canada Cycle & Motor Co. at the time) began selling Knight engined cars in 1910, at first using Daimler Knight engines.  Daimler had the licence for the commonwealth, so they got a share of the royalties from the Canadian sales.  This likely would not have been affected by Packard's claim to a US patent.

 

But I do wonder what would have changed if Packard had been successful.  Maybe we would have seen the Twin Six Knight engine?  Maybe we would not have seen Stearns-knight or Willys-Knight?

 

 

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@edinmass You mentioned that yoiur sleeve valve engine display functions. Are you able record a video and cycle the display, and upload it to You Tube? So we can see it working! That would be pretty cool. Thanks, Keith

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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I can fix any car.....posting a video is like rocket science to me...........I'll try. Does it have to go to Youtube? Or can I post it here directly.........or, send me your email by PM, and I will send a 30 second video, and you can post it........👍

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@edinmassIf you have an iphone or other similar...Download the You Tube app.  Then open the app and set up a YT account. Allow it to access your camera and mic if needed.  When the app is open, look at the bar at the top. Look for a little icon of a movie camera. Click it. Then hit record. Review, and or trim your video. Add a title, description etc.  Be sure to set privacy to "public". Then tap the word "upload" in the top RH corner of the screen. Once it uploads you are ready to go. Look for a "share" link in your video when reviewing on the YT app. Hit share, then copy the link. Then come here to this site and paste the link. Then we can see and view your video.  

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, keithb7 said:

@edinmassIf you have an iphone or other similar...Download the You Tube app.  Then open the app and set up a YT account. Allow it to access your camera and mic if needed.  When the app is open, look at the bar at the top. Look for a little icon of a movie camera. Click it. Then hit record. Review, and or trim your video. Add a title, description etc.  Be sure to set privacy to "public". Then tap the word "upload" in the top RH corner of the screen. Once it uploads you are ready to go. Look for a "share" link in your video when reviewing on the YT app. Hit share, then copy the link. Then come here to this site and paste the link. Then we can see and view your video.  

 

 

That's way beyond my skills.......send me your email in a PM, and I will send you a 30 second video by email.......I tried it and it works........👍

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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