The Charles Pogue Story
CARBURETORS AGAINST MILES
Manitoba, Canada, Jan. 24, 1936—If a car weighing a ton and a half
will run a mile and a half on a drop and a half of gasoline, people
are very likely to forget the famous hen and a half who laid an egg
and a half in a day and a half.
Evidence that a Winnipeg inventor's new carburetor gets over 200
miles to the gallon has caused many pencils to be sharpened by
amateur physicists. Where and how does he get the miles?
"Gas savers" galore crowd the electric belts and the muscle-builders
among the sucker ads in cheap magazines. It is not much of a trick,
by get-ting the motor hot, skinning [leaning] the mixture and
holding the car at its most economical speed—about 22 miles an
hour—to get 50 or 60 miles out of an old boiler that usually turns
in only 18 or 20 miles to the gallon.
But this 200-mile gadget is no gas saver. It is an economizer. It
reminds one of the story about the fellow who cascaded two gas
savers and had to stop every twenty miles to siphon some gas out of
In an imperial gallon of gasoline there are 145,000 British thermal
units, more or less. This is the equivalent of 113 million
foot-pounds, or 57 horsepower-hours. This would lift a 3,000 pound
car 37,660 feet straight up in the air; or a little over seven
miles—from the bottom of the Dead Sea to the top of Mount Everest,
and then some. How far it would pull the same car along a level road
depends on how fast you want to go, and how much friction there is
in the wheel bearings. A man capable of generating only one-eighth
horsepower can keep a car rolling, if he likes that kind of
He will get there sometime: Say you choose to exert a
continuous pull of 60 pounds—with a 3,000 pound car that is
equivalent to a two-percent grade, a rough approximation of
friction-loss plus wind resistance at a moderate speed. At that rate
she will roll 356 miles for your gallon of liquid calorics.
So, here's luck to a grand new idea. Long may she perk, and far may
Patents Block Thieves Taking Gas Economizer
Inventor Thinks Theft Is Attempt to Force
Loss of three models of his 200-mile-per-gallon carburetor sometime
Wednesday, was reported today by C. N. Pogue, local inventor.
Thieves broke into his workshop, located in the Amphitheatre rink,
through a hole in the roof, and escaped undetected.
The thieves will gain nothing by their raid, the inventor told The
Tribune today. The invention is fully protected by patents in all
principal countries of the world, and its theft will result only in
delaying Mr. Pogue somewhat in his work of improvement and
Mr. Pogue believes that the robbers, to whom he gave credit for
excep-tionally smooth work, did not take the three carburetors they
stole for any financial gain. He is of the opinion that their object
was to discourage the inventor and his backer, W. J. Holmes, to such
an extent that they would be willing to sell their rights.
Offers Turned Down
To date, Mr. Pogue said, he had turned down countless offers to buy
the invention, into which they have put thousands of dollars and Mr.
Pogue almost twenty years of work. They prefer to bring it to
perfection them-selves before placing it on the market.
Mr. Pogue described the manner in which the thieves accomplished
their purpose, as he sees it.
"There must have been two or three of them, and they probably spent
several days in their operations. How they could work here for that
time, while the place was guarded day and night, I don't know. I am
convinced that they were outsiders, but that they had help from
someone who knew the ground here well."
Kept In Workshop
Mr. Pogue kept his carburetors and the car with which tests had been
made, in a large workshop inside the Amphitheatre rink. The thieves
entered, perhaps through the rink, then climbed to the top of the
Here there were traces indicating a prolonged stay by the raiders.
There were footprints in the shavings on the roof, and remains of
meals. The raiders gained entrance to the shop through an opening in
a switchbox on the roof, dropping down and removing the carburetors
while Mr. Pogue was away for lunch on Wednesday.
Breen Motor Company Limited
To whom it may concern:
I made a test today of the Pogue Carburettor [sic] installed on
a Ford eight-cylinder coupe. The speedometer showed that this
car had already run over 9,000 miles. I drove this car 23.2
miles on one pint of gasoline The temperature was averaging
round zero with a strong north wind blowing. I drove for 15
miles and back on the same road, and the distance shown by the
speedometer mileage was 23.2 miles when the gasoline was
exhausted and the car stopped.
The performance of the car was 100 percent in every way. I
tested for acceleration, get-away from a standing start and at
all speeds, and it performed equal to, if not better, than any
car with a standard carburettor.
At very low speeds, under 10 miles per hour, it was smoother in
operation than a standard car. In fact, below 5 miles per hour
it pulled up a slight grade without labouring of any kind. I
stepped on accelerator when the speedometer was below 5 miles
per hour and the car got away without a falter.
T.G. Breen, President [Breen Motor Co. Ltd.]
Previous Theft Attempted
A previous attempt to steal the carburetor in April of this year was
At that time thieves stole a car in which the
invention had been demonstrated from a garage at the rear of the
Amphitheatre. Fortunately, the carburetor had been removed from the
car some time before. The invention was tested officially last
December. In below-zero weather, two prominent Winnipeg automobile
men, W. S. Kickley and T. G. Breen, reported 209.6 miles to the
In another test made by Mr. Pogue himself, in February, a car
equipped with this carburetor is said to have travelled from
Winnipeg to Vancouver on less than 15 gallons of gasoline.
POGUE'S 200-MILES-A-GALLON CARBURETOR IS BEING TRIED OUT
THOROUGHLY AT TORONTO
Toronto, Dec. 5—Somewhere within 40 miles of Toronto, generally in a
north to northeast direction, engineers are now trying out the new
carburetor, invention of John [sic] Pogue, 38-year-old Winnipeg man,
which has become the main gossip of engineering and motor car
circles through-out the continent.
That was the message imparted to The Tribune by John E. Hammell,
millionaire mining official and prospector. Mr. Hammell confirmed
the report that a car using the new carburetor traveled 200 miles on
a gallon of gasoline.
Just where the old residence and plant at which the carburetor is
being tested is located will not be divulged. Gordon Lefebvre, of
Toronto, formerly automotive engineer with General Motors, is the
personal representative of Mr. Hammell in the final stages of
perfecting the carburetor.
"I have not placed any big stake in this
invention and won't until it is perfected 100 percent," Mr.
Hammell said. "After it is perfected it will take time and it
must be proved as an engineering principle."
To date the sum of $150,000 has been expended on the
invention, states Mr. Hammell.
"I have hardly started to do anything yet—they've
got to show me."
W. J. Holmes, Winnipeg sportsman, has backed Pogue.
"But if it clicks," said Mr. Hammell, "there will
be all the money required to put it across. I have been
approached by some of the biggest oil and motor men on the
continent already. They laughed at Pogue when he needed help and
now they can talk to me. I have signed up the entire undertaking
and have made agreements with both Pogue and Holmes.
"Certainly we have armed guards at the plant where the
carburetor is being perfected. Somebody broke into Pogue's shop
at Winnipeg months ago, but even if things were stolen now it
wouldn't affect matters."
"The carburetor has been tried out on Pogue's own 1934 Ford
8-cylin-der car. We have driven the car and got surprising
performance—running over 200 miles on a gallon of gasoline. But
that doesn't yet prove the thing. It is being installed on one
of my own cars of the same make as the inventor's—then it will
be tried on larger cars," declared Mr. Hammell.
As yet the invention is crudely made and entirely by
hand. It is also costly. It is a slow process in developing. The
trying out of the instrument on new cars will proceed under Mr.
Then other engineers, a chemist and designers will be
called on as part of the under-taking with all the moneys required,
states Mr. Hammell.
"I have no illusions in this matter," he
"The principle must be perfected so that it can
be a commercial unit and that will take time. It can hardly be
said yet that it can be made in commercial quantities—that will
be the job of engineers not of the designer."
The One That Got Away
Probably the most well-known of all the suppressed carburetors
was the one (actually there were several) developed by John
Robert Fish. The Fish carburetor was not only an economizer, it
was a performer. Fireball Roberts had one on his car when he won
the Indianapolis 500 in 1962.
The Fish carburetor was no simple device. The patent for his
1941 model (send 50 cents to the patent office in D.C. for
#2,236,595) covers nine pages of explanations and drawings. His
carburetor had no choke and wouldn't idle very well, which
should have been no problem to solve—had he had a little more
money to develop it. However, Fish was so broke before he died
in 1958 that he had to have the money for one of his carburetors
in advance in order to then turn one out. The
U.S. Post Office sent all his mail back with "fraudulent"
stamped on his orders when he tried to sell them by mail.
"Fraudulent" could hardly have been a legitimate reason when no
less a manufacturer than Ford admitted that the Fish exceeded
their standard carburetor on two separate road tests by 32.5
percent and 42.8 percent respectively.
Fish went to his grave saying that someone in the auto-oil
industry had "bought off" the Postal authorities in order to put
him out of business.
What do you think?
While the writer was interviewing Mr. Hammell, a long
distance call came in from W. J. Holmes, the original backer.
"Holmes just confirms that our handshake on the
matter goes for good—we're sticking on the deal 100 percent.
Holmes has been recently approached by influential interests but
our agreement stands. Pogue is now inspecting every detail of
the carburetor being installed on machines other than his own.
As the affair is made by hand many test runs must be made and
many adjustments made.
"If this carburetor is right—and I've got to be
shown—it will be a tremendous benefit to mankind not only
through automobile and gas engines, which are countless, but
more so for airplanes, as it cuts gas down to one-tenth. I'm a
flying man and everywhere I go these days is practically by
plane so I visualize what the thing might mean."
A typical breezy talker, Mr. Hammell replied to some
"How about armed guards?"
"Sure we have a flock of armed guards. They
are carrying guns ready to pop at anybody."
"Is the inventor worried?"
"He is nervous and very apprehensive.
However, if there was danger before it has now passed.
Anything broken or stolen can be replaced with-out harm to
"Who owns the thing?"
"All I have is an option for control and full
and absolute power to handle it anyway I see fit. Mr. Pogue
will receive his interest, as will Mr. Holmes."
ARMED GUARDS, A HOUND AND AN INVENTOR GET ON JACK HAMMELL'S
"It's Got Me Nuts," Says He, Telling of Pogue
Toronto, Jan. 28
—Inventors are "funny people"—and that goes for C. N.
Pogue, of Winnipeg, young mechanical wizard who turned out a
gas-saving carburetor. Pogue may be a nice boy, but his invention,
armed guards and wolf-hound proved too much as a steady diet for
Jack Hammell, millionaire mining magnate.
Hammell, backer of the carburetor, told about his reaction to
inventors and inventions in an address here Wednesday to the Kiwanis
The wealthy mine-owner spoke the day after Professor Alcutt of
the University of Toronto, had termed "impossible" the claims made
for the Pogue invention.
"My engineers like it," said Hammell, "but I
don't know. It's got me nuts. Did you ever have anything to do
with an inventor? They're funny people. He (Pogue) put this big
device on cars for us and we got up to 215 miles a gallon out of
them. But it's still got to be proved to me—and then it has to
have a little sex appeal put into it for commercial production.
"After our engineers tested it I said, T still think it's
screwy.' Pogue told me he was going to try to get 450 miles a
gallon out of a carburetor and I said 'No you don't—two hundred
is as high as I can stand.'"
"There's no reason for the oil companies to worry or for you to
sell your oil stocks—it'll be the greatest thing for oil
companies that's ever happened, if it works out.
"You could put Amelia Earhart into an airplane and let her fly
it from Frisco to Berlin and back without refueling—that's what
"I had the inventor out at my place and there were two men with
revolvers and a big wolf-hound but that wasn't enough for him.
He had a revolver himself but he insisted on hiring five more
guards with sawed-off shotguns and things and finally I had to
send him back to Winnipeg.
"He's spent $35,000 on this carburetor and his backers have
spent $150,000—and they haven't got a thing out of it." "I was
glad to get rid of Pogue. He's a nice boy but he's an inventor."
Back to Contents