Rare Gade Engine Runs Backward

A rare 3 1/2 hp Gade engine runs counter-clockwise


| November 1998



Vernon Ruble's mammoth Gade engine weighs about 1,100 pounds.

Vernon Ruble's mammoth Gade engine weighs about 1,100 pounds. It draws plenty of attention at the shows he attends, where people take a look and tell him that he's got his engine running backwards. "I just tell them that's the way it's always run," he said.

Photo by G. Wayne Walker Jr.

When Vernon Ruble started collecting engines, he followed his elders' advice. 

"The older collectors I've talked to, they all said that they regretted passing up the opportunity to get a large engine," he said.

So, as a novice collector, Vernon jumped at the chance to buy a rare, air-cooled Gade engine.

"I've just been collecting for a couple of years," he said. "I was at a show with my wife and the kids, and this older gentleman had the Gade for sale. It was just getting too big for him. An air-cooled is a pretty unusual engine, so, a couple of weeks later, I bought it."

The 3 1/2 hp Gade engine was manufactured in 1912 in Iowa Falls, Iowa. The previous owner said it had been used in a grain mill, where it had been run counter-clockwise.

"The majority of engines run clockwise," Vernon said. "But the way the equipment was positioned at the mill where this came from, they had to have an engine that could go counter-clockwise. On this engine, if you turn the cam around, it will run backwards. And that's the way it's been run, since it was new."