And more engines chugging along one century later
I read with great interest the article about the 12 HP Badger in the December 2005 issue of Gas Engine Magazine. Around that time, I received a note from Stiles Bradly, who had picked up the other 12 HP Badger that was mentioned in the article. He had just gotten it to run for the first time.
When Stiles purchased the engine, it was in pretty sad shape. Among other things, the main bearings seemed to have been re-poured at some point, and whoever did it used the wrong size mandrel for the job, causing the bearing journals to be too wide to be useful. The igniter had been replaced with a spark plug, and all of the trip mechanism was missing. These were only a few of the problems the engine had. So Stiles went to work.
He heard that this engine might go up for sale before it actually did, and managed to find an original igniter before he even had the engine. The bearings were re-poured, and the igniter was duly replaced.
The trip mechanism was a problem. Luckily, he was able to find some copies of original Badger catalogs with very good views of the engine, including the trip, and was able to fabricate a new one. Other parts were made or obtained, including the nametag and pulley. He also obtained a nice subbase, a seldom-seen feature on any Badger.
The Badger was made by C.P.&J. Lauson sometime prior to the Christensen Engineering buyout of 1908. This 12 HP example is an earlier one, since the ignition system was changed from igniter to spark plug well before Christensen began manufacturing them.
The engine was started in late fall of 2005, and was proudly displayed during Craig Prucha's Christmas get-together for those of us who had never seen it run. Also on hand for the get-together was his latest project: an 8 HP Atlas. Although it was missing the governor, it was started for the first time in many years. Stiles was acting as the "governor" by throttling the gas or engaging the detent under the exhaust rocker just like the missing governor would have done. Stiles also owns a 4 HP Atlas, so the broken governor bracket will be recast, and a new governor made, patterned after the original, bringing it back to its original glory. This engine was designed to pump oil in the fields of Pennsylvania. It was run on natural gas available at the wellhead, and used hot tube ignition. It will now run on natural gas, including the hot tube, as it chugs away into another century.
Contact engine enthusiast Woody Sins at: 3 Edna Terrace, New Hartford, NY 13413; firstname.lastname@example.org