Badger Unearthed

Cockshutt tractor

Content Tools

3 Edna Terrace, New Hartford, New York 13413-1708

I came home one fine day in late September to find a photo clipped to my mailbox. It was of my buddy, Chandler Mason, with a mile-wide grin, standing next to an old tank-cooled engine inside a dilapidated barn. On the back were the words, 'Look what I just bought Chan.' On the engine was seen a vertical flyball governor, sideshaft, and spark timer of the Badger-Christensen style. Some people have all the luck!

The E-mail flew back and forth for a few days after that, including images of the cast-brass nametag, identifying the engine as made by C.P. & J. Lawson. This company was to become Christensen around 1908, and the family resemblance in the mixer, governor, and general lines is evident. The Badger brand name was associated with both C. P. and J. Lawson and Christensen. The photos also showed an original moon-shaped gas tank and clutch pulley, all atop an original cart. Plans were made to pick up the engine the following Saturday.

The big day finally came. As late September days get in upstate New York, it was cold, with rain varying from a drizzle to driving downpour. We arrived at the farm of John Parker, where the engine had worked and rusted for the last ninety years. We were soon at work with his Cockshutt tractor and bucket loader to remove the engine. Photo 1 shows the engine enshrined in the building where it had been for the last fifty years. Mr. Parker said he had last seen the engine run when he was about six years old. It was used to drive an Ireland drag saw to cut firewood. The remains of the saw are in a nearby field, to be picked up at a later time.

Since the floor of the shed where the Badger was had collapsed, it was deemed easier to use the bucket loader on the Cochshutt to lift the main weight of the engine out, and roll the back end on planks over the rotted floor. Photo 2 shows the operation in progress. After the Badger was on firm ground, the tractor was used to tow it to the road. Since it was Dump Day at the local transfer site up the road, we had to work fast so as not to block traffic.

Chan's trailer, a converted boat trailer, wasn't wide enough to roll the engine directly on, so we enlisted the aid of the bucket loader to remove the wheels, two at a time, and slide the engine onto wood blocks on the trailer. Photo 3 shows the engine being loaded, with the front wheels removed. Chan is supervising the operation. An original clutch pulley can be seen. Photo Four shows the engine on the trailer with the happy new owner lovingly securing the load. Note the large wooden pulley and crescent gas tank.

Unloading the engine was slightly more difficult, since we had to leave the Cockshutt behind, but an engine hoist and a little ingenuity was used to safely reverse the process. A close inspection of the engine revealed frost cracks in the water jacket, a mouse nest in the cylinder (due to the spark plug's removal many years ago), and some worn-out main and connecting rod bearings. Chan has his work cut out for him, but his years in the engine hobby will help him get the engine running like new. The Badger will be his pride and joy.