An Appreciation for Aermotor

Wisconsin man’s patience pays off with collection of rare engines.

Added by a collector somewhere along the line, this plate identifies the engine, which is on its original skids, as a 1906 4hp Aermotor. Generally, little is known about the Aermotor line. Bill Vossler photo.

Steve Oswald of Wauzeka, Wisconsin, started working with gasoline engines at a tender age. “Being a farm boy, I was always around machinery, and I liked it,” he says. At age 8, he tore into a Briggs & Stratton 3hp engine, completely dismantling the engine and then reassembling it, returning it to running order. “I put it to good use on my bicycle,” he recalls. “I had a heck of a time getting it lined up, but once I did, it worked fine. It went pretty fast, too fast, really, for gravel roads.” 

This view of a 2hp Aermotor shows why the engine is often referred to as a “sausage-hopper.” The muffler is at top left; the curved red pipe at the bottom is the air intake for the carburetor. Bill Vossler photo.

His next project was a 1936 unstyled John Deere Model B tractor given to him by a neighbor. “It wasn’t stuck,” he says, “so I cleaned the carburetor, put in new gear-lube, points, condenser, spark plugs, added tires and painted it.” Having caught the tractor-collecting fever, Steve gathered up 30 tractors, mostly John Deeres, over the next 10 years.

When calm days stilled the windmill used to pump water for the family’s dairy herd, they used a 1-1/2hp John Deere hit-and-miss engine to run the pump jack. “I remember my dad starting it every spring with the John Deere B with a flat belt,” Steve says, “because it could be a little stubborn.” Hearing that engine “pop” made him notice the difference in the sounds of engines. Today, he still has those engines.

The original cart on this 2hp sausage-hopper Aermotor is notched at the front and back. A pipe could be inserted into each notch for haulage. Nikki Rajala photo.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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