Collecting Midwest Engines

An Illinois-built 8hp Appleton engine and a Nebraska-made 2-1/2hp Dempster are the cornerstones of one man’s gas engine collection.

| April/May 2019

Gary Hansen’s 1906 8hp Appleton is a rare sight.

1906 8hp Appleton  

Manufacturer: Appleton Mfg. Co., Batavia, IL
Year: 1906
Serial No.: 4611
Horsepower: 8hp @ 325rpm
Bore & stroke: 6-1/2in x 14in
Flywheels: 42in x 2-3/4in
Ignition: Low-tension Webster oscillating magneto with igniter
Governing: Hit-and-miss, flywheel governor
Cooling: Hopper

Gary’s 2-1/2hp Dempster. Note the ported exhaust. It’s not clear when Dempster adopted the feature or how long they used it.

2-1/2hp Dempster  Model 2H

Manufacturer: Dempster Mill Mfg. Co., Beatrice, NE
Year: Unknown
Serial No.: 7725
Horsepower: 2-1/2hp
Bore & stroke: 4in x 6in
Flywheels: 24in x 2-1/2in
Ignition: Low-tension magneto w/igniter
Governing: Hit-and-miss, flywheel governor
Cooling: Hopper

Gary Hansen’s gas engine collection started with his grandmother’s old washing machine. “It was a Maytag 92 with a side exhaust, the kind of machine with an open gear wringer at the top, that she bought back in the late 1930s. I restored that, and kind of worked my way up from there to buying gas engines here and there at auctions and swap meets,” Gary says. “My dad used to take us to shows around the area, like Le Sueur (Minnesota, Pioneer Power Show) and Butterfield (Minnesota, Threshing Bee) and I always thought that was neat. I ended up with a few tractors, too.”

Owner Gary Hansen with the 8hp Appleton.


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