Robert A. Reynolds started his design and developed his rotary valve engine around 1903. He continued experimenting and perfecting this engine for eight or nine years before introducing it to the public. A 4-cylinder, rotary valve type engine was produced by a newly formed company named Reynolds Gas Engine Company. The company had M.J. Murphy who was president of the Murphy Chair Company and of the Security Trust Company as the President. The Vice President was Walter S. Russell who was also president and general manager of the Russell Wheel & Foundry Company. The board of directors includes Howard E. Coffin, vice president and consulting engineer of the Hudson Motor Car Company, George H. Cheney, Professor Herbert Saddler of the University of Michigan, and Cecil Taylor.
During the development of this engine Vice-President Coffin supervised the building up of the Reynolds rotary valve engine, and this effort helped culminate the finished product of its general appearance. This engine if of the four-cylinder type with a block casting construction, and the ignition effort is done by a magneto.
The Reynolds Gas Engine Company was located in Detroit, Michigan and two patents were located for this company. Patent number 924,382 issued on June 8, 1909 for an Internal Combustion Engine. A second patent number 1,052,530 issued on February 11th, 1913 for a Rotary Valve for Explosion Engine.
The original Reynolds Rotary Valve Engine was introduced as a four cylinder, four stroke engine. Following "extended tests in various makes of cars with splendid results" a six cylinder version was later produced. This engine was more particularly for marine service.
The construction of the engine along with pictures and illustrations will give an idea of the main features. The horizontal cross shaft in the front end of the engine is driven by means of spiral gears from the crankshaft and in turn drives the magneto on one side and the water pump on the other. Incidentally, this cross shaft is also made to drive the oiler through the medium of an concentric on the same cross shaft. A vertical shaft also at the front of the engine carries a spiral gear which meshes with another at its lower end on the horizontal cross shaft. The position of this spiral will be seen on the view of the bottom of the cylinders.
The vertical shaft carries a spirally or angular cut gear at the top of the cylinder which meshes with the first of the train of four gears which transmit the valve drive across the heads of the cylinder to the individual valves. The valves are heavy disks which conform in the shape with the head of the cylinder.
The rotary valve which seats against the head of each cylinder is allowed enough space so that there is at all times an oil film about 0.00662 inches thick between the valves and the seat. Small holes are drilled in the faces of the valves to allow any particles of foreign material which might produce abrasion on collecting them. The segmental parts are generous in size. The opening instead of being annular as in the case of the ordinary poppet valve is an open space and there is no throttling of the gas or in pinching the stem on itself as in the case of ordinary poppet valves.
-Research by Dave Ziegler