Friends – News From Wolverine – Jan, 1940

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela - 1939

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela

Lad hears from the instructor he had at the Wolverine Diesel class he took in Bridgeport before he went to Venezuela.

105 Plymouth Street

Stratford, Conn.

January 7, 1940

Dear Alfred:–

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year. I was very glad to receive your last letter and hear about your new connection. I had meant to answer it sooner, but we have bought a new home in Stratford, so you will have to change your record of my address to the above. With moving and starting school, I have been pretty busy.

We were very much interested to read about the big fire you have had and I am enclosing some of the clippings from the Bridgeport Post concerning it. I thought you might be interested in reading the details as we get them here.

Business seems to be getting a little better here in New England and at the Wolverine, we have been very busy the past month and will be through February, although September to December was a very slow period. We have the crankshafts ordered for our new 8 x 10 1/2” engine and the patterns for the bases are now being made. It will probably be running in March or April. Three big engines have been purchased by an ice plant in Middletown, New York, and Mike is installing the first one tomorrow. Jacob Bros., the scrap dealers in town here, have bought a big six cylinder engine to operate a scrap baling press, which will be the largest one East of Detroit. The concrete foundations have already been poured for this job and the building is now being erected to house the complete unit. This project will cost about $75,000, and will be the first diesel engine installation we will have installed in Bridgeport.

We are also experimenting with supercharging our two cylinder engine and I expect to have this year’s class operating this engine next week. It will have a single intake valve in the center of the cylinder head and the valve will be mechanically operated by an overhead cam shaft. It is a very problematical what we will get out of this experiment. We are using a rotary vein type supercharger. If you remember, the test we made on this engine during class showed that the base compression was slightly under 3 pounds. We are going to try and raise this to 5 pounds because of the smallness of the valve in the head. It probably will be possible to raise the Mep. to about 70 pounds. If we can do this, it may be possible to get enough more H. P. to pay for the auxiliary equipment. However, if we don’t raise the Mep. this high, we will probably have to build a new engine around the supercharger.

Yesterday, the school went to the Motor Boat Show in New York, and we had a fine time. The test engineer at Palmer Brothers in Cos Cob, Connecticut, and Caterpillar are also exhibiting along with the usual old-line companies like F. & M., Superior, etc. It is a very good show but a tiresome one. You walk for miles and I am glad it is over for this year. We have come home with the usual number of bulletins, look them over, file them away, and never look at them again.

By this time you must’ve run across some of the Wolverine two cylinders. We received a repair order from the Standard Oil Company a couple of weeks ago. I hope you will be able to get in on this end of the business down there.

We have been having quite a spell of cold weather since Christmas time and our new home is located in Paradise Green near Brewster Pond, which makes a very excellent place to skate. I was skating myself this afternoon and Pauline is down most every day with her new Christmas skakes. I don’t imagine you are doing much skating! I hope I don’t make you homesick but when we get our January thaw, with its slush, I will wish I was down in Venezuela.

I bought a new 1940 Ford in November and had considerable trouble with the voltage regulator. I wonder if you have found this so with the equipment you are using.

Your experience with Cummins engines is similar to reports we get around here about them. I don’t know how they have built up such a large organization on the reputation we hear they have.

Dick Huskes claims ownership to the muddy letter you received and by this time he probably has written you another, at least those were his intentions. Dick is getting married in the summer to Vera Budnick, sister of Walter Budnick, who was in your class. Walter is married and Russ Johnson is also married. George Stram is still with us here at the Wolverine.

When you write again I would like to have your opinion on the possibilities of a fellow getting employment where you are, if he paid his way down or, say, in other words, that he was there. I know a young man who is very much interested in a proposition like this and is perfectly willing to go to Venezuela on his own accord if there was a reasonable possibility of his locating a connection. I would appreciate very much hearing what you have to say concerning this. This young man attended my class two years ago, has a very pleasing personality, and is a good worker and it is only because of this that I have become especially interested in him.

We had a repair job on Hammond’s yacht last week along with the installation of a set of lubricating oil filters.

This seems to be all the news I can think of at this time.

With best regards, I am


Albert W. Hagan

Tomorrow’s post will be a letter from Grandma Peabody, Arla’s Mother, to Lad in Venezuela, Then two more of Grandpa’s weekly chronicles.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles and stories based on letters and memories of my family, prior to and during World War II, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

20 thoughts on “Friends – News From Wolverine – Jan, 1940

  1. John Skinner says:

    Al Hagan was my grandfather. The Pauline mentioned in the letter is my mother. His correspondence, publications, notes, and other writings are now at the Smithsonian.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      John Skinner – I’m so happy to hear from you. There are so many little bits and pieces of information in these letters that I can make no connection with. I’m thrilled that you found this post (although I wonder how you did) and that you have a connection with someone who just appears occasionally along with other references to the class my Dad took at the Wolverine Works in Bridgeport. In fact, your grandfather wrote a glowing letter of recommendation for my father before he went to Venezuela. Contact me at my email ( and I’ll send it and any other references I find.

  2. Don Mulcare says:

    The picture is interesting. the cactus plants remind me of the SW-USA. My only personal contact with Venezuela was a family friend who played winter baseball there. I’d have to ask around to get his name.

    God Bless,


  3. gpcox says:

    Did you ever find out id that man met up with Lad for the job? Have you tried regular camera shops to do the film developing? They should at least be able to direct you to a photo lab.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      gpcox – I honestly don’t know. Perhaps we’ll read more in future letters. I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m discovering things right along with you.
      I have checked with one photo shop. They would have to send them out and would charge me $5 per picture. I have over 70 negatives, and I don’t know if any of them are worthwhile !!!

  4. Mustang.Koji says:

    …and I see your name in the image credits. Cool! The words from your great-grandfather were also moving… :-)

    • jaggh53163 says:

      Kogi – My Grandfather was a remarkable man and I never knew it until I started reading all these letters my father saved. What a legacy !!

      • Mustang.Koji says:

        Oops. Grandfather! My bad… You are so blessed in having these letters. I sure wish letters from my Uncle Suetaro to my grandmother (Suetaro was killed as a Japanese Imperial Army soldier in the Philippines during WWII) in Hiroshima were saved.

        • jaggh53163 says:

          Koji – Mo big deal – It get’s very confusing when an ancestor is called Aunt ___ or Grandma, because you don’t necessarily know who’s Aunt or Grandmioher they were !!!
          I realize what a treasure my Grandfather and Father saved for me and am happy to share them. It is the story of my family but it is also the story of so many other families around the world during this horrible war.

  5. Mustang.Koji says:

    I know a bit about engines but just can’t figure out what an 8 x 10-1/2 engine is!! And to hear of them supercharging a TWO cylinder motor! That’s got to be a rocker! You know what is also funny? People had reliability issues with Cummins even back then! LOL

  6. Elephant says:

    This is a wonderful photo!

    • jaggh53163 says:

      Elephant – I had never seen it, didn’t know about it. When I started my blog last September, I started going through more of the material Dad had left for me in two boxes. I discovered quite a few pictures from Venezuela. There are probably about 100 more I haven’t had developed from the negatives yet. Having trouble finding a place that has the equipment to do it !!!

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