My Beautiful Piece of Iron

Sandwich on cart with the restored Jaeger

Sandwich on cart with the restored Jaeger, which was seen on the cover of our September issue.

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2328 W 300N Warsaw, Indiana 46580

Note: The following story is about the engine which appeared on the front cover of our September 1992 issue.

Having grown up on a farm in northern Indiana, I have been exposed to various types of equipment most of my life. I have been in law enforcement for 12 years and work as a deputy sheriff. After high school, I was employed as a mechanic for a farm machinery business, and through that, developed an interest in engines and their workings.

I have been collecting antique tractors and engines for several years, and in the fall of 1990, my father and I attended an engine auction near Kokomo, Indiana. At this auction, I observed a large, extremely rusty Jaeger cement mixer on a steel wheeled cart. It was covered with the usual amount of grease and hardened cement, and appeared to have been left to the elements. Under the cover of a metal engine compartment, I discovered an extremely greasy, but what appeared to be a very good Hercules/Jaeger 3 HP engine. It did not show the damage from the weather, as it had been somewhat protected by the hood and dilapidated doors. As usual, in auctions, it seemed like an eternity until it became time for this item to be sold. When the time came, there was the usual flurry of quick bidding, and when it was all over, I found myself to be the new owner of a very large, seemingly immovable piece of rusty iron.

After waiting almost two hours for the crowd to clear out so we could get our trailer into position, we hooked onto the cart with the winch cable, finding the fifth wheel type steering to be rusted solid and incapable of turning. This was surmounted, and my beautiful piece of iron was loaded. My father did make the request that we stop along the route home and buy a tarp to cover my purchase, so my neighbors would not laugh when we arrived home.

Upon arriving home, the 'before' photos were taken with the mixer still on the trailer.

When this was completed, and my prize unloaded, the work began. Starting with the removal of the engine covering (the doors had almost fallen off on the trip home), the next step was to remove the engine from the frame so it could be dismantled for cleaning and repair. After removal, the engine was completely dismantled down to the last bolt and screw. Each part was sandblasted individually in our sandblasting cabinet, and inspected thoroughly. Both valves were stuck in poor condition. The valves were replaced and new valve guides installed. The rod bearings were replaced with new, as the originals were found to be in four pieces. The original muffler was in excellent shape. The magneto only required cleaning and polishing.

Other repairs involved the building up and turning down on a metal lathe, of worn shafts and other movable parts. The parts were then refitted and new gaskets installed. After the assembly was completed, came the anticipation of the big moment, the initial start-up. I have read many articles on the restoration of engines, where it is explained that with the first or second revolution of the flywheels, the engine bursts into life. This did not happen with my latest endeavor. Instead, it was more extensive checking, re-adjusting and sweating, and THEN the engine began to run. Once again another piece of iron, back to life. Once the final fine-tuning was completed, the engine was partially dimantled again, and the priming, painting, and decals were completed. I remounted the engine onto its original wheeled cart in its original position, and used the remaining portion of the cart, after the cement mixer had been removed, to mount a 2? HP Sandwich for display.

There is a definite feeling of satisfaction in the hobby we all enjoy, to see an engine or tractor that has remained silent for many long years, come to life, running under its own power, and with new vibrant colors instead of masses of rust.

My collection covers not just one brand or color of engine or tractors, as I am always open to that 'just one more', of whatever color it may be. Still looking!!