No Smoke, No Smell, No Sparks!

In a house full of engines, this little Briggs and Stratton will remain outside working

| October 2006

The ad said, "Several small old engines for sale." Actually, it was my wife who found it. She doesn't mind the nice shiny Stover KA residing on our summer porch as a year-round display, the clean and unpainted Briggs FH upstairs in the television room or the single-hole corn sheller in the same room. (That one was heavy bringing up the stairs!)

So I called the number and set up an appointment to take a look. Apparently some were already gone, but several remained. An hour's ride brought me to an old house near a lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

While walking out to a shed, the owner said he had inherited the property several years prior to my visit and was still going through sheds and a large barn, continuing to discover "stuff." Some he was selling and some he was keeping, with the hope of opening a small museum some day. He then showed me what was left of the engines for sale.

Through the open side of the shed, a bunch of air-cooled engines were visible, slowly sinking into the dirt floor and nearly covered with last year's autumn leaves. They were all cast iron engines - a pair of Wisconsin single-cylinders and several Briggs & Strattons, some with attachments. An old piston-type belt-driven water pump and a small, old electric air compressor labeled "Smith's Oil Less Air Compressor" with a patent date of 1934 were just visible in the corner.

After looking closely at all of it, I decided all I really wanted were two items: the Briggs & Stratton engine with a generator attachment and the water pump, as these make nice displays at shows belted to a small engine. But he wanted all of it gone and offered to sell them all for a low price. So that's what happened - they all came home with me.

The photos in this article show the Briggs & Stratton Model 14 powering a Master Mechanic 110-volt AC generator. It was probably a hardware store or catalog item from the 1950s.