Nov 2017. Steve Allsop writes (on FB Messenger):
The general consensus is that it was made somewhere in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, between 1895-1905. The engine appears quite advanced in some ways for its age, with a modern looking (but very primitive) carb, and a deflector piston (its a two stroke), but very primitive in how the ignition works. There is no spark plug, instead there is a low tension magneto within the flywheel, and an ignitor device (missing) that is operated by a contact on top of the piston. Stamped on the magneto magnet is the name Bohler, and a 'Star of David' mark. Founded in Austria, Bohler still exist as Bohler Stahl, and have offices worldwide. Unfortunately, due to the Allied bombing campaign during WW2 they hold very few records pre 1945, and they were unable to help. I did manage to find out that the 'Star of David' stamp held no religious significance, but was a quality proofing mark of theirs.
Apart from the name JANTO cast on the crankcase, there is the number 103 stamped. Assuming that like other makers, their serial numbers started at 100, then at least three were produced. I think that if 103 or more were made there would be more information available. Of course it could also mean number 1, '03.
The copy of the old photograph given to me by Pal Negyesi, shows a JANTO engine fitted to a MERKUR bicycle, but I've also not been able to find information about them either. I was hoping that if I could narrow down where the bike was made, there was a good chance that the engine may have been made close by, but again, nothing. On a slightly humorous note, I won this engine on Ebay, from a chap in Romania who had it listed as an "Early Japanese board track racing engine"!!!!
The last photo shows my engine fitted to a period frame of unknown make.
If you have any information about Janto, or if you own one, please let me know.
Nov 2017. Swen Dolenc writes