Barnyard Badger

Rare 12 HP Badger Engine Rescued from Harsh Wisconsin Weather and Brought Back to Life

| December 2005


There's no disputing sideshaft, flyball-governed engines are hot these days, and for good reason: All the moving parts working together are constantly keeping your eyes busy, almost leaving you in a trance. That, and everybody wants one.

One guy fortunate enough to get his hands on one of these increasingly unattainable engines is Bill Winkler of St. Anna, Wis. His 12 HP Badger engine, made by the C.P.&J. Lauson Co., Milwaukee, Wis., was found nestled outside next to a barn.

Another collector had found the engine on a farm near Alcorn, Wis., in fairly good, complete condition. Even so, 100 years of harsh Wisconsin winters had taken their toll on the poor old Badger. The collector approached Bill at the 2003 Badger Steam and Gas Engine Show in Baraboo, Wis., and told him about the engine and his plans to attain it. Bill showed interest and asked if he could have the first chance at buying it. Obviously his wish was granted.

Some Badger Background

A feature unique to the Badger engine is that there is no base. However, there is a short bedplate bolted directly to the cart's channels. Other features of note are the intricate pinstriping and the stout connecting rod. According to C.H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, the rod was machined from a solid steel billet, and “… remained as an identifying mark of high quality design for many years.”

Bill purchased the engine in 2003 in the same condition it was found just a few months prior, and spent the next six months restoring it. When discovered, the engine had been converted to spark plug ignition, and Bill intended to find the necessary parts and convert it back to its original igniter-type ignition.

Amazingly enough, a few weeks after Bill made his purchase, some friends of his came across an original C.P.&J. battery box in that very same barn the engine had been sitting next to all those years. Although the box is not original to this particular engine, it did contain the Badger's original igniter.