Badger Unearthed

By Staff
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3 Edna Terrace, New Hartford, New York 13413-1708

I came home one fine day in late September to find a photo
clipped to my mailbox. It was of my buddy, Chandler Mason, with a
mile-wide grin, standing next to an old tank-cooled engine inside a
dilapidated barn. On the back were the words, ‘Look what I just
bought Chan.’ On the engine was seen a vertical flyball
governor, sideshaft, and spark timer of the Badger-Christensen
style. Some people have all the luck!

The E-mail flew back and forth for a few days after that,
including images of the cast-brass nametag, identifying the engine
as made by C.P. & J. Lawson. This company was to become
Christensen around 1908, and the family resemblance in the mixer,
governor, and general lines is evident. The Badger brand name was
associated with both C. P. and J. Lawson and Christensen. The
photos also showed an original moon-shaped gas tank and clutch
pulley, all atop an original cart. Plans were made to pick up the
engine the following Saturday.

The big day finally came. As late September days get in upstate
New York, it was cold, with rain varying from a drizzle to driving
downpour. We arrived at the farm of John Parker, where the engine
had worked and rusted for the last ninety years. We were soon at
work with his Cockshutt tractor and bucket loader to remove the
engine. Photo 1 shows the engine enshrined in the building where it
had been for the last fifty years. Mr. Parker said he had last seen
the engine run when he was about six years old. It was used to
drive an Ireland drag saw to cut firewood. The remains of the saw
are in a nearby field, to be picked up at a later time.

Since the floor of the shed where the Badger was had collapsed,
it was deemed easier to use the bucket loader on the Cochshutt to
lift the main weight of the engine out, and roll the back end on
planks over the rotted floor. Photo 2 shows the operation in
progress. After the Badger was on firm ground, the tractor was used
to tow it to the road. Since it was Dump Day at the local transfer
site up the road, we had to work fast so as not to block
traffic.

Chan’s trailer, a converted boat trailer, wasn’t wide
enough to roll the engine directly on, so we enlisted the aid of
the bucket loader to remove the wheels, two at a time, and slide
the engine onto wood blocks on the trailer. Photo 3 shows the
engine being loaded, with the front wheels removed. Chan is
supervising the operation. An original clutch pulley can be seen.
Photo Four shows the engine on the trailer with the happy new owner
lovingly securing the load. Note the large wooden pulley and
crescent gas tank.

Unloading the engine was slightly more difficult, since we had
to leave the Cockshutt behind, but an engine hoist and a little
ingenuity was used to safely reverse the process. A close
inspection of the engine revealed frost cracks in the water jacket,
a mouse nest in the cylinder (due to the spark plug’s removal
many years ago), and some worn-out main and connecting rod
bearings. Chan has his work cut out for him, but his years in the
engine hobby will help him get the engine running like new. The
Badger will be his pride and joy.

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