The Saga of My Jaeger

Check out one man's story of his memories of a Jaeger gas engine from his childhood rediscovered in his cousin's basement decades later.

article image
by Ed Strait

Company: The Jaeger Machine Co., Columbus, Ohio

Horsepower: 2

Rpm: 550

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

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines