Family Jewel: Circa-1918 Gade Engine

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


| October/November 2017



gade engine

Arden Abild's 6 hp Gade engine.

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.