2500 Curtis Road, Leonard, MI 48367.
On February 8, 1989, John Bender and I drove up to Grayling, Michigan to pick up an engine for John. It was one of Michigan's coldest and snowiest, windiest days.
It took us about four hours (200 miles) pulling a small trailer, to get to Wakely's Auto and Salvage Yard. We found Mr. Wakely in the house with a warm, roaring fire going.
After visiting and talking for awhile, John and I went out in the cold, zero weather to load his engine. I started looking at some of the other engines Mr. Wakely had around his place and spied a big engine with its nose frozen in the ground.
There were about five or six inches of snow covering the engine. After I got the name tag uncovered, it read: 6 HP Badger Mfg. by Christensen Engine Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
There were several parts missing, the head, valve cage, piston and connecting rod. Luckily, someone had put the mixing bowl inside the water hopper!
I went back in the house to get warm and to talk to Mr. Wakely about the Badger engine. Mr. Wakely said he thought the piston and connecting rod were around his place somewhere! After looking for them for quite awhile and not finding them, I decided I wanted the engine anyhow. Mr. Wakely and I came to an agreement on the price for the Badger and he said his piston and connecting rod would go with the deal if he found them!
John and I loaded the two engines and started the 200 mile trip home, on icy roads.
After I got the engine home and disassembled, I took an inventory of the parts that were missing. I ran an ad in GEM several times for the head, valve cage, piston and connecting rod. After writing several letters, making a lot of phone calls, I met and made some good friends.
I got in touch with Lester Lee in Millerton, Pennsylvania, who had a 6 HP engine like mine. Mr. Lee didn't have any extra parts, but said he would be glad to help me if he could. He sent me pictures and answered some questions for me.
I went back up to Grayling the following summer to see Mr. Wakely. When I got there, he said he had something for me, and handed me the piston and connecting rod!! He had been able to find them after the snow melted.
In the meantime, I had been in touch with Chris Romness, who had patterns and castings made for a Badger he was restoring. I bought the head and valve cage from Mr. Romness-exact duplicates of the parts I needed.
My wife Bev and I vacationed in Pennsylvania during October, 1989. While in the area, we stopped by Lester Lee's place. I had talked to Lester several times on the phone and met him once at an engine show in Canandaigua, New York. I told him I would like to see his Badger engine, as that would help me when I started machining my parts.
Lester was very congenial and accommodating. He took the head, valve cage and other parts off his engine and let me borrow them to machine mine by. I have enjoyed our friendship that has developed through our engine hobby.
Well, it has been one year and five months, and a lot of enjoyment since I started this project. I called Lester Lee and told him I was about ready to start the Badger engine. I told him I was leery of starting it, as I' had never run an engine bigger than a 2 HP.
We invited Lester and his wife over for the Fourth of July weekend. They got to our place on Thursday, July 5th, about 2:30 p.m. By 3:30 p.m. Lester and I had my Badger engine running!!
After a few adjustments, the engine runs good and is my best running engine. I took it to six shows this past summer.