Originally Posted by Twin-Stack
Wow, that was quick ! I was thinking they may have been around for a lot longer than that - we shall have to wait for our European friends to confirm or deny this. Thanks ! BOB
At least here in the USA Mel Anderson was the first to show a engine with what we think of as using a "needle valve" unit. I don't find any references to model engines being made before 1932. So something must have happened around 1932 through 1935 that suddenly caused people to get the idea to design, build and manufacture model airplane engines. Even the small expansion engines like compressed air, CO2 or carbide and dry ice didn't start appearing until around 1935. Plus this was during the "Great Depression" too, which is even more surprising.
before then intake venturis or carbs used something like what you see on car engines with carburetors. They would use mixture screws instead of a "needle" like we know of today. The first model airplane engine in the USA was made by the Baby Engine Company in 1911, but it used a primitive float carburetor. It was big too, at 2.67 cubic inch displacement and a 1/2 horsepower rating.
Here is Mel Anderson's first model engine 1932 with the unusual setup for air/fuel mixture control. It might arguably be the first model engine with a throttle too. I think Anderson had the first two barrel carb on this engine too.
So Mel Anderson might be the first innovator that set off the model airplane engine industries as we know them today.