A Briggs & Stratton Engine Still at Work

An old Briggs & Stratton, manufactured around 1950, saves the day after it’s put to use in a flooded yard.

article image
by Dave Irey
Scott Irey’s circa-1950 Briggs and Stratton Model N belted to a small pump.

This past March 24, 2019, after heavy snow and record cold in Minnesota, it finally started to warm up. With all this snow melt came flooding. My son Scott had 5-6 inches of water standing in his backyard, and it was threatening to flood his basement! Some 20 years ago he bought a small Briggs & Stratton Model N gas engine (circa 1950?) from a neighbor. It had a very old spark plug, possibly the original. The engine did not have a recoil start, but a loose rope to pull to start it and was equipped with a brass pump with 3/4-inch garden hose connectors. When Scott bought the engine he took it home, cleaned it up and got it to run. He called me and told me of his find. It cost the princely sum of $5.

Fifteen years later he got it down from the shelf, put new fuel in it, pulled the rope twice and it started. He then put it out in his flooded yard, hooked up hoses to it and put it to work. The engine was mounted on a piece of oak 1 inch thick and 18 inches long. The engine and pump ran for six hours the first day without any trouble and five hours the second day, then it stopped. Investigation showed a piece of carbon had gotten under one of the valves. This was cleared out and the engine ran again. In all it ran for several days, clearing the flooded yard. Who says old engines are not usable today? The brass pump has no nameplate, but has “VE1000V5” cast into the housing. It has been said to me more than once when I was displaying engines, “What good is an old engine anyway?” Well, I think this answers that question! As a footnote, the engine used very little fuel.

Dave Irey
6348 Mildred Ave.
Edina, MN
(952) 943-8357

Please send your questoins and comments to Flywheel Forum to Gas engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd ST., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email editor@gasenginemagazine.com

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines