My First Side-Shaft Engine A 6 HP Badger, Wisconsin

By Staff
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2500 Curtis Road, Leonard, MI 48367.

On February 8, 1989, John Bender and I drove up to Grayling,
Michigan to pick up an engine for John. It was one of
Michigan’s coldest and snowiest, windiest days.

It took us about four hours (200 miles) pulling a small trailer,
to get to Wakely’s Auto and Salvage Yard. We found Mr. Wakely
in the house with a warm, roaring fire going.

After visiting and talking for awhile, John and I went out in
the cold, zero weather to load his engine. I started looking at
some of the other engines Mr. Wakely had around his place and spied
a big engine with its nose frozen in the ground.

There were about five or six inches of snow covering the engine.
After I got the name tag uncovered, it read: 6 HP Badger Mfg. by
Christensen Engine Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

There were several parts missing, the head, valve cage, piston
and connecting rod. Luckily, someone had put the mixing bowl inside
the water hopper!

I went back in the house to get warm and to talk to Mr. Wakely
about the Badger engine. Mr. Wakely said he thought the piston and
connecting rod were around his place somewhere! After looking for
them for quite awhile and not finding them, I decided I wanted the
engine anyhow. Mr. Wakely and I came to an agreement on the price
for the Badger and he said his piston and connecting rod would go
with the deal if he found them!

John and I loaded the two engines and started the 200 mile trip
home, on icy roads.

After I got the engine home and disassembled, I took an
inventory of the parts that were missing. I ran an ad in GEM
several times for the head, valve cage, piston and connecting rod.
After writing several letters, making a lot of phone calls, I met
and made some good friends.

I got in touch with Lester Lee in Millerton, Pennsylvania, who
had a 6 HP engine like mine. Mr. Lee didn’t have any extra
parts, but said he would be glad to help me if he could. He sent me
pictures and answered some questions for me.

I went back up to Grayling the following summer to see Mr.
Wakely. When I got there, he said he had something for me, and
handed me the piston and connecting rod!! He had been able to find
them after the snow melted.

In the meantime, I had been in touch with Chris Romness, who had
patterns and castings made for a Badger he was restoring. I bought
the head and valve cage from Mr. Romness-exact duplicates of the
parts I needed.

My wife Bev and I vacationed in Pennsylvania during October,
1989. While in the area, we stopped by Lester Lee’s place. I
had talked to Lester several times on the phone and met him once at
an engine show in Canandaigua, New York. I told him I would like to
see his Badger engine, as that would help me when I started
machining my parts.

Lester was very congenial and accommodating. He took the head,
valve cage and other parts off his engine and let me borrow them to
machine mine by. I have enjoyed our friendship that has developed
through our engine hobby.

Well, it has been one year and five months, and a lot of
enjoyment since I started this project. I called Lester Lee and
told him I was about ready to start the Badger engine. I told him I
was leery of starting it, as I’ had never run an engine bigger
than a 2 HP.

We invited Lester and his wife over for the Fourth of July
weekend. They got to our place on Thursday, July 5th, about 2:30
p.m. By 3:30 p.m. Lester and I had my Badger engine running!!

After a few adjustments, the engine runs good and is my best
running engine. I took it to six shows this past summer.

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