Family Jewel: Circa-1918 Gade Engine

An original 6 hp Gade engine changes hands for the first time.

| October/November 2017

  • Arden Abild's 6 hp Gade engine.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Lost to time, the 6 hp Gade is incredibly original and appears to be mounted to its original cart, complete with the battery box. Note the old tin of grease and the oil can that were sitting with the engine.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • The flat belt is long past its best years, but it's amazing that it's still in place on the the pulley.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Period advertisements show 6 hp engines equipped with a fuel pump, but this engine is gravity fed and there's no indication it ever had a pump.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • The South Dakota granary where the 6 hp Gade lived its entire life until this past summer.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • The Gade was used to power this bucket elevator to carry grain up into the granary.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Arden Abild (at rear) and new owner Dave Thompson prepare to move the 6 hp Gade from the granary.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Before they could move the engine, Arden had to shovel out years of accumulated dirt in front of the door.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Dave and Arden roll the 6 hp Gade out of the granary, its first time out of the building in almost 100 years.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Original build plate shows serial number 7105. The engine is believed to have been purchased new sometime around 1918.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Arden with the Gade outside the granary.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen
  • Dave loads the 6 hp Gade onto his trailer for the trip home as Arden looks on, knowing the engine is going to a good home.
    Photo by Loretta Sorensen

Circa-1918 6 hp Gade

Manufacturer: Gade Bros. Mfg. Co., Iowa Falls, IA
Year: 1918
Serial Number: 7105
Horsepower: 6 hp @ 350rpm
Bore & stroke: 5in x 7in
Flywheel dia: 28in
Weight: 850lb
Ignition: Igniter w/battery & coil
Governing: Hit-and-miss, flywheel weights
Cooling: Air w/ported exhaust


This vintage Gade engine not only held up under more than a half century of use, it survived for practically 100 years under the care of the original owner’s grandson.

Approximately 100 years after this Gade 6 hp gas engine was set up to elevate grain at Sid Abild’s rural Wakonda, South Dakota, farm sometime around 1918, it was rolled out of the now-vintage granary and onto a flatbed trailer, bound for a new home.

Arden Abild, Sid’s grandson, had been storing the engine since 1995 when he left the construction industry and returned to the family farm. Among his reasons for hanging onto the engine was the fact that he grew up using it and learning about its longtime history with the Abild family.



A family heirloom

“My dad, who passed away in 1994, figured he was about 10 when his dad bought the Gade,” Arden says. “The granary where my grandfather was using it was actually his first barn. In 1903 he built a new barn, moved the old one to this spot just west of it and converted it to a granary.”

From family pictures, Arden knows his grandfather used Belgian horses on the farm, using the new barn to house 16 of them on the barn’s west side. Calf pens on the barn’s east side held milking cow calves, which were either fed out or retained in the herd.



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