Company: The Jaeger Machine Co., Columbus, Ohio
Serial No.: 295226
In the mid-50s, when I was 8 or 9 years old, I was fascinated with machinery – with construction in general. If something was going on, I was there with my trusty Columbia bicycle.
About that time, my grandfather retired from dairy farming and went to work with his oldest son (my uncle) who was a contractor. They got a job building stone retaining walls on a property within riding distance of my home. As soon as I heard the “bang, bang” of their cement mixer, I was there (if I wasn’t in school). I had watched my grandfather stop the engine with a shovel by shorting out the plug. The next time I said, “Grandpa, can I do it?” He said, “Sure!” I didn’t realize that you had to hold only the wooden handle of the shovel, and was in for quite a surprise!
Fast forward to the early 60s. My cousin had built a vehicle with the Jaeger after his father retired the cement mixer. Our older cousin had put together a vehicle of sorts with Model A axles and wheels on a 4-by-10-feet oak plank. He used an engine flywheel mounted to the Model A rear wheel and a starter pinion to drive the Jaeger via v-belt pulley. I was there for the maiden voyage that ended in failure.
Around 2010, I was at a family reunion with my cousin reminiscing about the past and I mentioned the Jaeger. He said, “I still have it, it’s in my basement. I haven’t done anything with it in all these years, it’s yours if you want it.” I jumped at the offer and here we are.
I have cleaned it up, lubricated it and bolted it to a makeshift cart until I can find a suitable set of wheels. It runs like the day it was built.
Ed Strait can be emailed at email@example.com.