1912 6 HP Sandow Stuns at Show

1912 6 HP Sandow is star of Dave Hills’ varied collection.

| February/March 2014

  • Dave Hills’ 1912 6 HP Sandow.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • The Sandow’s head, showing the drip oiler-style injector.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • Called a “Sandow” in normal conversation, Dave’s engine is actually a “Sandow Lines” machine, as another Sandow was on the market at the time. Water is injected from the hopper when kerosene is used to run the engine.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • The rear of the Sandow shows some of the original wood.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • The Sandow’s flywheels are 36 inches in diameter with 3-inch faces.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • The truck for the 1912 Sandow is original.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • Dave’s 1927 1/4 HP Briggs & Stratton SH was converted to a sideshaft model before he purchased it.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • The head of the homemade Briggs & Stratton sideshaft. A Volkswagen distributor shaft and camshaft gears were used on the sideshaft. The engine was an upright before its conversion.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • Dave says more and more people are using Briggs & Stratton SH engines as bases for “homemade engines,” creating something of a shortage. Gears came out of an air-cooled Volkswagen engine.
    Photo by GEM Staff
  • Dave Hills with his 1912 6 HP Sandow.
    Photo by GEM Staff

Dave Hill Showcases 1912 6 HP Sandow

One day in 2010, Dave Hills was driving with a 1-1/2 HP John Deere engine in the back of his truck in Muscatine, Iowa, when a man stopped him and asked if he was interested in buying more engines. Being a collector, of course Dave was interested. He already had a few rare engines, like a 1920 5 HP Galloway, a 1908 3 HP Cushman — which he bought at a flea market — as well as engines from IHC, Ideal, Maytag, Handy Andy and  Rock Island.

But Dave, of rural Letts, Iowa, had no idea he was about to get the engine that would become the favorite of his 20-some-piece collection: a 1912 6 HP Sandow. 

Dave was shown an engine that had been outside for 15 years. Although it did have a cover over the hopper, there were no cracks in it and the head appeared to be in good condition. “All I had to do was take it apart and clean it, put in all new springs and gaskets, which I cut myself, which is what most people do,” he says. “I didn’t have to do any machine work on it. I don’t really care what an engine looks like when I get it, as long as all the parts are there. That’s all I care about. I’ve never bought one that’s running. I like to fix up the engines myself.”



Dave traded his old vertical E. H. Wachs steam engine, which was manufactured in Chicago, for the Sandow. He initially traded for the Sandow because he liked the size of the Sandow, but he also got $500 out of the deal.

What Dave got was an unusual and rare engine that had been used to cut wood only 30 miles from where he lives. The rare 1912 6 HP Sandow, serial no. 60159, came with its original truck and original clutch. The Sandow has a 6-inch bore and 10-inch stroke, and an unusual water injection that drips water from the hopper into the mixer.