1919 1-1/2 HP Sattley

Common as a shoe - or is it?

| November/December 2004

  • 1-1/2 HP circa-1919 Sattley
    Randy Reysen's kerosene-fueled, throttle-governed 1-1/2 HP circa-1919 Sattley.
  • Webster magneto and the dry cylinder

  • Webster magneto and the dry cylinder
    Note the position of the carburetor, as well as the Webster magneto and the 'dry' cylinder head.

  • 1-1/2 HP circa-1919 Sattley
  • Webster magneto and the dry cylinder
  • Webster magneto and the dry cylinder

In December of 2002, I was trying to ward off the boredom that a cold Wisconsin winter offers, so I headed to the local auction house. After looking over that week's tables and being disappointed in finding no gas engine equipment or material, I let my eyes wander to the items hung along a wall. I found a large antique clock that sparked my interest, so I located a seat in the crowded hall and began the wait.

Opening the door
Not long after I sat down, an older gentleman next to me began to strike up a conversation. Of course we hit all the easy topics like the high prices at the auction, the cold weather, where we live and our jobs. Before long he was telling me all about his former career as a dairy farmer. Having grown up on a dairy farm myself, we had plenty of stories to share. In the end, he told me he wished he wouldn't have had to quit farming, but he had just gotten too old to keep up with the many demands it puts on a person.

We exchanged a few other stories before I could no longer fight back my eagerness, 'Say, do you have any of those old flywheel hit-and-miss engines laying around anymore?' He paused a brief while before saying, 'Yes, I have a small red one in the old barn; I think it's a horse and a half.' Heart gently pounding, I calmly asked him, 'Would you consider selling the engine?' Maybe it's the anticipation, or maybe the adrenaline, but that little word 'yes' seems to take on a magical 'child-on-Christmas-morning' quality when it comes directly after that question.

Christmas Eve day, Dad and I headed out to look at the little red engine. We got to his house, loaded up and went to the 'other' farm. In about 10 minutes we found ourselves standing in an old barn staring at the strangest little engine either of us had ever seen. It was tight and missing the muffler; however, it was still wearing its original Webster magneto, connecting rod greaser, pulley, oiler and 80 percent of the factory paint. It had everything that usually walks off of engines - talk about barn fresh.

Now I was excited - it was my second barn find that year! We talked a good while and finally came to an agreeable price on the engine and a neat hog oiler I spotted. I paid, loaded the engine and headed down the road. Almost immediately, Dad and I began retelling parts of the story to each other and before long we were having a good chuckle about how I happened on this engine and its unusualness.

Within a few days we had her running quite nicely, thanks to some expert advice and help from family friend, Ron Marcus, but still had no idea what kind of engine it was. My brother decided to clean the hardened grease off the hopper, and in the process, discovered a well-worn original decal that looked like a shield. A short while later, he also exposed various cast part numbers all beginning with the letters AK. With these discoveries and a Webster bracket number as my only clues, I began to research.


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