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L'aster type B5D

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L'aster type B5D

Post by Pdarby83 on Sun Aug 04 2013, 21:22

I was wondering if anyone could help me with this engine. Has anyone seen or heard of this engine? And could you confirm if it is a marine engine.
I have one of these which is now working and has all original parts except for the magneto. It did have a bosch ze1 but I have fitted it with a Lucas RS1.

If anyone could help me know more about this engine it would be much appreciated.

Kind regards

Peter

Pdarby83

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Re: L'aster type B5D

Post by blue cat on Wed Nov 20 2013, 20:39

Peter,

L'Aster (the company) is French in origin, based in St Denis a district of Paris. L'Aster was a producer of engines, gearboxes and chassis for bespoke automobiles, including Gladiator and Aries, but none carried their name. It is unclear when they produced their first stationary engine but sources suggest around 1910/1911. At around the same time, a subsidiary company called Aster Engineering Co Ltd was set up in Wembley, England, and both companies operated in parallel primarily as bespoke engineering companies, but beginning also to branch out into aero engine production. The activities of  French L'Aster during WW1 are unclear for obvious reasons, but the English Aster company produced the aero engines for Green Engine Co, and many other items to help with the war effort.

For many engineering companies the post WW1 period was difficult and for Aster on both sides of the Channel it was no different. They both continued to make stationary engines, generating and lighting sets, and any bespoke engineering jobs that came their way. Aster products are synonymous with quality engineering, but this did not help them with the price of their products, which were a touch expensive to say the least.

Aster Engineering Co found the economic climate hard and in 1927 merged with the Arrol Johnson car company to found Arrol-Aster, however the merger was not a success and the company failed in 1930. The French L'Aster company fared little better and by 1930 engine production had virtually ceased, although there as a brief flirtation with diesel engines. It is said the French L'Aster survived into the 1950's (not confirmed at his time).

Aster's produced many different types of stationary engines, of which the type B engine is just one example. The type B5D is believed to have been introduced around 1913 and continued until the early 1920's. The B range started with the diminutive B2 (2hp) and went up through 9 sizes to the B24 (24hp 4 cylinder) engine. The single cylinder B5 engine is rated at 5hp at 1400rpm. Cylinder sizes are in metric, bore 95mm, stroke 110mm. The carburettor is a Zenith. Of course it could have many uses - but it is not a marine engine, it's a true stationary engine. Many were coupled to generating/lighting sets, and the B5 with a suitable generator could produce 2200 watts of electrical power. Country house lighting was one of the markets Aster tried to exploit. The price of the B5 engine around 1920 was an astonishing £76, about twice the price of a similar horsepower Lister L, so you can understand why there are not many around today. Having said that, around 10 B5 engines have survived into preservation today.

So to answer your specific points:
It is not a marine engine, it is a stationary engine.
The Bosch ZE1 magneto would probably be the original magneto.
You have a very unusual engine.

The research information in this post is my copyright.

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Re: L'aster type B5D

Post by Pdarby83 on Thu Nov 21 2013, 16:42

Thank you very much for the information. Much appreciated. Do you know anything about their current value?

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Re: L'aster type B5D

Post by blue cat on Thu Nov 21 2013, 19:34

You're welcome.
Sorry no idea about current value, not many about, but not everyone's cup of tea.

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Re: L'aster type B5D

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