Friday, September 3, 2010

A Compound Weekend

by Willy Vinton

One of the fun and rewarding things about working here is meeting descendants of some of the automakers whose cars are in our museum. Last weekend Gregory Prior and his uncle Stanton Prior made a trip to Fairbanks to visit the museum, specifically to see the 1906 Compound Model 7 1/2 we have on display. Greg and Stanton are the direct descendants of  David Graham, who was the general superintendent for  Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company.  Both men were in the past, and presently involved in the design of automobiles. Greg is currently working for Chrysler and had worked for GM in the past, designing cars and product. They have been tracking our Compound (the only one known to still exist) for several years and decided that it was time for them to see it, so they made a special trip up to Fairbanks, arriving on Friday night and leaving Monday morning.

Here are Greg and Stanton sitting proudly in the car with the engine designed by their ancestor and Frank Fox.

Since they had made the effort to come all the way to see the compound, I told them we would fire it up and give them a ride if we could get the weather to cooperate. Saturday was a gloomy day and we could not make it happen, but on Sunday we found an opening in the weather long enough to get the car out, spend 10 minutes getting it started and then taking it for a spin. That was a very special moment for both of them, and will provide many tales to be told around the campfires for years to come.

Greg and Stanton brought a mountain of knowledge, paperwork, photos, blueprints, articles, advertisements and original parts lists for the Compound to share with us. We thank them for making the journey, and for providing another tale for our campfires as well.


  1. My uncle and I are actually not at all related to John Eisenhuth.

    Rather, we are the great nephew and great great nephews of David Ferguson Graham, who was the Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company's General Superintendent. He held patents on various design aspects of the engine and transmission on the Compound and drove one of the cars that competed in the 1905 New York Motor Club economy test.

    Uncle David was the Graham of the Graham Fox Motor Company. They exhibited a touring car in the 1903 New York Auto Show. This car had a compound expanding engine, designed by uncle David and Frank Fox. Uncle David sold rights to his patents to John Eisenhuth and went to work for his company. He actually out lasted John Eisenhuth at the company that made the Compound.

    Thanks again for the wonderful tour of your great collection, and for all the warm hospitality.

    Best Regards,

    Greg Prior

  2. Hi

    I am busy compiling specifications of all cars, and wondered how the swept volume of these compound engines is correctly calculated. Is it exactly as per a normal combustion engine? Is the middle, "scavenger" cylinder the same dimensions as the other 2? Any thoughts and advice appreciated. Thanks.


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