215 Cleveland, Bad Axe, Michigan 48413
Over the last ten years I have turned leads on engine and
tractors I have seen, over to other collectors, being primarily
interested in Model T Fords. However, in the back of my mind I
still knew of several engines and only an impulse of a moment was
needed to set me off.
One evening last August while Mike Sorenson and I were buzzing
along south of Bad Axe in his blue Dodge pickup, I began to tell
about the big 7 Hp. Hercules we used on an irrigation pump.
Before we go on, let me introduce you to Mike. He is a happy go
lucky young fellow who is my right arm and dependable helper in the
hardware store my Dad and I own. At 16, Mike loves engines more
than girls, although he has several ardent admirers.
As we hummed on, going out to repair a sick garden tractor, I
expanded on the trials and tribulations we had with the worn out
Hercules. I went on until he said he had never seen an engine like
that with big flywheels and an open crank. I said, ‘Do you want
one?’ He sure did. So, at the next corner we turned right and
went two miles into the South Swamp where I had seen one while on a
Ford parts hunt.
It was half buried in manure in an unused pen barn. I was sure
$2.00 would buy it. When we saw the owner, he said he paid $7.00
for it 30 years ago and had $5.00 worth of work out of it. $2.00
bought it without asking or bargaining.
It had needed rings so he had pulled the piston and rod and
stuck it into the water hopper. At least, it wasn’t set up.
After dragging it into the light and loading it we found we had a
Fairbanks Model Z 2 Hp. complete with skids and a lot of dirt.
All the rest of the way Mike excitedly told how he was going to
restore it ‘like new’. He wished I had one too. With three
Model T’s to work on, I thought otherwise.
Pictured is a 3 Hp. International engine that I have
This is a Davenport Oil Engine 3 Hp. It fires under compression.
I would like to hear from somebody that has seen or heard of it
There doesn’t seem to be anyone around here that has ever seen
one of them. It was built in Davenport, Iowa. It is similar to a
Sears Thermoil Oil Engine.
As we worked on the sick Bolens I thought a little more and
remembered a little engine two miles away in Winter’s junk
yard. Upon our arrival, Mr. Winters was sure that there were no
engines left in his yard. ‘Why, people have been all through
there and I piled all that iron there myself,’ he said.
Some ten years before while digging through the oldest part of
the yard, I had found a cute little engine completely surrounded by
grain binders which were stood on end like books on a shelf. Since
there was no way to get it out short of straight up, I covered it
up with a washtub and bought its oiler for a souvenir.
When we got into the yard to ‘waste our time’ we found
most of the binders gone. After ten minutes hunting we started
kicking into a huge clump of wild raspberries. There, among the
berries, it was still covered with the old tub. Mike was so happy
he would have carried it to the truck alone, had I let him.
However, it wasn’t quite that easy. We had to rig a lift to
get it over a corn binder. Then we dragged it over several used up
truck chassies and slid it over a John Deere G.P without wheels,
all the time being careful not to fall into or get pushed against
the dangerous pieces of mowing machines and other sharp rusty
objects thrown along the way.
This is a 3 mule team Associated engine that I have
As soon as we got home, we applied penetrating oil and opened
what turned out to be a United 2 Hp. I had covered it up too late.
Water had gone into the exhaust pipe and cracked the cylinder as
well as pushing the piston out and taking teeth off the solidly
rusted cam gear.
Next Saturday found us in my old Ford truck to hunt down more
engines. When delivering a lawn mower in early spring, I saw a pair
of flywheels at the bottom of a customers stone pile. After a
polite talk, the owner gave us the engine for hauling it away. It
was a 1? I Hercules complete to the Webster magneto and completely
The next place, a couple of miles on had a 1? Hp. of anonymous
make as rusty as the Hercules but it was lied up in an estate.
From there, we went on to Ubly where I knew of an engine on a
pump jack. When we got there, it was gone, apparently just
Taking back roads home as usual, I remembered hearing the hit
and miss pop of an engine while I was installing a pump. When I saw
Johnny, the new pump owner, he pointed to an old orchard where
surrounded by a strong fence were a couple of barns and an old pump
house. We could make out the flywheels of two engines from where we
stood. Johnny said to stay away from the orchard but to go to the
owners house on the hill behind his place.
He said, ‘Leave the truck at the road and walk through the
barn yard gate and back to the house. Stop at the kitchen door yard
gate and wait for the dog to bark and somebody will appear.’
Sure enough, it happened as he said. After the dog barked, a square
jawed old fellow appeared in overalls and said in Polish English,
‘Wat you want?’ After explaining myself, he said, ‘You
no get dat mote we pomp watter wit’.
‘Well, there’s two engines there’.
‘Don’t know, you see my brodders, Stanley and
‘Stanley and Clarence who?’
‘You see my brodders Stanley and Clarence, day
‘One nort-half west, half nort-half west’.
With that he abruptly turned for the house and I started for the
road, bravely looking into several open sheds along the way, out of
the corner of my eye. In one, under a pile of grain bags, I spied a
little flywheel. I was too chicken to look further and ran for the
This is a 2? Hp. Waterloo engine that I have restored. I bought
it from the original owner, who had bought it in 1908. It is 60
After following the directions, I found Stanley and Clarence
combining. They shut every thing down for a good talk. They were
good fellows and interested in helping. ‘We found that Jon Dare
angines damn good – got 4 of em on pomps. Always start. No sell.
Need parts dough, parts angine in shed near used up. Angine you
want no good, after rain no good, after rain no start. Got it on a
sale. Jon Dare Angines best’.
A price of $2.73 (all we had) was agreed upon and we became the
owners of Economy 2 Hp. No. 2378. They had used most of the bolts
out of it but otherwise, it was all there. The cows had kept the
rust off with their tongues, so it is pretty smooth.
Later in the fall, John Wilcox traded us a Witte 6 Hp., and
Ottawa 5 Hp. and a little Stover, all in running shape for a 5 Hp.
1897 Fairbanks and Generator we had, so we finally had a couple of
Our instant collection is sitting in oil awaiting the time when
we will push the pistons out. Mike has the Fairbanks looking good
now and soon it will feel fire for the first time in twenty years.
We have a lot of fun ahead and who knows, we might find a real
jewel somewhere yet.
(Following is the letter that came with this article and I feel
it should be printed – Anna Mae) – Dear Editor: May I begin by
saying I have enjoyed GEM from the first issue and now want to
I started collecting engines at age 11, when my uncle gave me a
fairly good Novo. Later I got a Gilson, air-cooled. These engines
were given away to a friend in 1956 when I went to college. When I
came home, I became interested in Model T Fords. It has been
recently because of my ownership of a small engine agency that I
have gotten the bug again.
Rumely and 30-60 A & T taken at Bridgeport, Nebraska Show,
These engines were discovered over a period of ten years in old
car parts hunts and upon deliveries of new water pumps, lawn mowers
and etc. I turned the leads over to other collectors but these no
one ever picked up.
At one place where I bought a model T, I saw a Temple Master
Workman and that a collector did pick up. It is much better than
the equipment I discovered has been picked up and saved from the
torch, however, I would like to get another chance at the 1917
Avery and some engines I’ve seen.
Enclosed is my yarn about going after the engines that were
Since I wrote this, Mike Sorenson, my junk hunting partner and
close friend has drowned. I am also writing ‘in Memory of
Mike’ which I will also send in. This boy doesn’t deserve
to go to the grave to be forgotten for the life he led should be an
example to all teenagers.
We both enjoyed a farm junk yard, like a museum. Sometimes we
made a find, others we just had a good time looking around. We
started collecting engines to satisfy Mike’s curosity about
something he had never seen.
A 1? Hp. Cushman engine that I have restored.
30-60 Aultman & Taylor belongs to Fred Brubaker of Bird
City, Kansas. It was shown at Bird City Show for several years.
This 25-50 Avery Tractor bought by Carl Priesner of Ogallala,
Nebraska in 1966 and completely dismantled and rebuilt and painted
by Carl and I. We had to make drawbar, crank, fuel tank and
complete radiator in my shop, but it is still minus the governor.
Have Pickering on it. It was used to thresh with this fall.
18-36 3 speed Hart-Parr that I have rebuilt and painted for
myself in 1967.