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

  • 1905 New Model Engine
    The 1905 2 HP New Model National Engineering Co. engine from the collection of Joe Schneider, New Hope, Minn.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • 1902 New Model Engine
    It took the Schneider family 20 years to get this circa 1902 2 HP National Engineering Co. New Model engine.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Before Photo Engine
    This before photo shows a lot of wear and tear on the engine, and it hadn’t been run in at least 20 years.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Fuel Pump New Model
    The fuel pump, pendulum governor, rocker arm and ignitor on the New Model.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Engine Handles
    Note the handles on the skid of the New Model engine, designed to carry the machine easily from place to place, despite its huge weight.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Engine Tag
    In a gesture that shows how engine people help each other out, Jerry Swedberg had this tag made for the National Engineering engine, which did not have one. Though the tag does not show the basic information for this 1905 engine, it does show the New Model name and National Engineering Co. manufacturer.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Joe With Engine
    Joe kneels with his unusual 1905 2 HP National Engineering New Model engine.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • 1912 Brillion Engine
    This circa 1912 Brillion engine was dragged around from Minnesota to Colorado by its original owner until the Schneiders got hold of it.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Before Photo Brillion
    This is how the engine looked when the Schneiders purchased the Brillion from a man who wanted to sell it so he could afford to buy an expensive skeet rifle.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Brillion Front
    Brillion engines like this one were manufactured starting in 1912, but it’s unclear when they stopped producing, or how many were made. They were cast in one piece, which reduced production costs.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Restored Brillion Engine
    The restored Brillion engine.
    Photo Courtesy Joe Schneider
  • Natoinal Engine Ad
    With old engines, there are always mysteries. New Model and Michigan  engines were built by National Engineering Co., Saginaw, Mich. But this December 1908 ad in Gas Review magazine shows those models being built by National Engine Co., with the address slightly changed to "Saginaw, West Side, Michigan.
    Illustration Courtesy Gas Review magazine

  • 1905 New Model Engine
  • 1902 New Model Engine
  • Before Photo Engine
  • Fuel Pump New Model
  • Engine Handles
  • Engine Tag
  • Joe With Engine
  • 1912 Brillion Engine
  • Before Photo Brillion
  • Brillion Front
  • Restored Brillion Engine
  • Natoinal Engine Ad

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.



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