Rare Engines Help Foster Lifetime Hobby

Rare engines, including a National Engineering Co. New Model and Brillion, find home with patient Minnesota collector

| June/July 2013

Joe Schneider fell in love with antique gasoline engines after he saw them at a show near Bradford, Minn., in 1990. “The next year my dad, John, brother Andy and I bought a couple of John Deere E 1-1/2 HP engines from a guy we knew. So I was only 20 when I got started,” Joe says. “It was just neat seeing the engines, and when we fell into two rare engines and got them working and running, that got me so interested that I’ve been bit by the bug ever since.”

Since then, they’ve branched off into a variety of common engines, like the Montgomery-Ward catalog Sattleys, Fairbanks-Morses and a couple of foreign engines, as well as a pair of rarer engines: a Brillion and an unusual National Engineering Co. New Model engine.

New Model  

The Schneiders’ circa 1905 2 HP National Engineering New Model engine, serial no. 2154, manufactured by National Engineering Co., of Saginaw, Mich., was a regular at the Bradford show but had never been in running condition.

“It was at that showground, and for a long time we tried to buy it, asking the family if they wanted to sell, but they always turned us down,” Joe says. “We’d ask whenever we saw it over the next 20 years until the show shut down, and the owners had an auction.”

In 2005 the engine became the property of the Schneiders. The engine had originally come out of a blacksmith shop in Oxlip, Minn., and was in pretty rough shape when the Schneiders got it. “The machine was pretty much complete, except for a cracked water jacket and cracks in the head,” Joe says. “The engine had been converted to a spark plug at one time, but someone had taken pity and had found the igniter and put it back in.”

Unique features 

There are three or four more New Model engines around Minnesota. This New Model has several attributes that make it an unusual engine, starting with a pendulum governor, which is unique for a small engine but is more common on bigger oil field engines.