Paulson’s Special Engine No. 1

The story of Paulson engine no. 1 – a 5 HP hit-and-miss engine manufactured by Lang and Scharmann

| April/May 2013

1912 photograph of Paulson engine

“Barn Interior 1/8/1912”: This glass negative photo shows the 5 HP Paulson powering a cutter.

Photo Courtesy Barney Kedrowski

In June of 2012, I eagerly took my Paulson engine to its first show – The Tri-County Threshermen’s Assn. show in Plainfield, Wis. I knew I had a very rare and special engine and hoped that its extensive history would captivate other engine enthusiasts. So that Saturday morning I set up my large display board next to my engine and anxiously awaited feedback. Everyone who took the time to read about the engine gave very positive comments; however, one comment stood out above all others. A man named Joe said, “If there was such a thing as a gas engine lottery, you hit the jackpot! You own the first engine made by Paulson: serial no. 1.”

I talked to Joe for a bit, explaining how I acquired the engine and the accompanying historical information and photographs.

Joe said he’d never heard of Paulson engines and asked how I found the engine.

I explained that the previous fall I had spotted the Paulson engine in the local buyer’s guide in an auction listing. It read “SPECIAL Paulson hit-and-miss 5 HP engine made by Lang and Scharmann in Marshfield, Wis. Engine no. 1 (one of a kind).” That made me very curious because Marshfield is only 40 miles north of my hometown. An engine made in the local area was news to me. On the bottom of the ad was their website. The picture showed a very weathered engine inside of a building, sinking into the earth.

Joe asked about the auction, specifically if there were a lot of people bidding against me.

While there had been a lot of people there not many were engine collectors! But there was still a bidding war between me and another man. After I won the engine, we spoke; it turned out that he was a Lang. I asked him if he was a descendant of the foundry that made the engine. He said that he was not; he just liked seeing his last name on that brass tag. That Lang name cost me an extra $900.