The Unusual 1910 Stickney

An Iowa engine collector acquires and restores a 1910 Stickney, right down to the cart.

| October/November 2017

1910 3 hp Stickney

Manufacturer: Charles A. Stickney Co., St. Paul, MN
Year: 1910
Serial Number: 10842
Horsepower: 3 hp
Bore & stroke: 5in x 6in
Flywheel dia: 30in
Ignition: Igniter w/battery & coil
Governing: Hit-and-miss, Stickney pat'd crankshaft governor
Cooling: Hopper
Weight: 1,275lb (engine only)

Steve Alt of West Liberty, Iowa, fell in love with Stickney gas engines years ago visiting the local Muscatine County Fair when he was young. “Every year this guy brought three engines and sat on a lawn chair with an umbrella,” Steve remembers, adding. “They were always Stickneys, including a little 1-3/4 horse. I’ve always loved that style and loved that look. The Stickney is one of the first engines I loved.”

Steve wanted that 1-1/2 hp Stickney badly, so when it came up at auction in 1988, he borrowed $2,000 from the bank, hoping that would be enough to make it his. “That still couldn’t buy it,” Steve says. “It sold for way more than I could afford.”

Steve kept hoping that someday he’d own a Stickney, and finally in 2011 he found a 3 hp 1910 Stickney for sale from a collector in Willmar, Minnesota. “I contacted him, and we met in Omaha, Nebraska, late one night. He unloaded it off his trailer, and I loaded it onto mine. I went back home and he went to Texas to deliver two or three more,” Steve remembers.

An 11-month odyssey

As purchased, the engine was in pretty rough shape. “The reproduction gas tank wasn’t correct, and it had used ‘hard water’ at one time, as we joke when an engine has frozen up. This one had frozen water in the bottom and it cracked from the bottom up through the Stickney letters on both sides of the engine. It had been partly welded together.” Steve decided to redo the entire engine, “to reproduce everything to the Nth degree.” That took a lot of research and time.

Steve spent the next 11 months going through the entire engine. “That meant four to five hours a day, and weekends, nonstop working on the engine,” Steve says. “Almost all my spare time, easily 20-30 hours a week.”