I LOVE old machinery. I love the look, the style, the sound. When you look at this welder, it’s simple. You don’t need a ton of manuals and a doctorate in engineering to figure out how it works. It’s simple, it works, and it’s built to last. It will probably be burning rods long after any of us will. Add to this the fact that it’s one of the best/smoothest welders I’ve ever used and you can see why I think this is such a great design. Did i mention i really like this welder?
Last year I was working on a job with a guy that bought and sold welders as a hobby. He tried to stick with Lincoln machines due to the fact that most of the guys that he sold to were pipeliner guys, and they’re generally fiercely loyal to Lincoln welding machines. It was a pretty nice arrangement; I’d find welders for him to buy, he’d buy them then pay me a finders fee. Over the course of the job, I think I’d found him around 10 of them, over half of which he ended up buying. This is one of them, an absolutely beautiful SAE-300 welder with a Hercules 6 cylinder engine. If I recall correctly, he said it was a 55 or 56 model. I’ve tried to check the serial number on some of the pictures that I have, but I can’t make it out to verify the exact age, but it does look like the right vintage. It’s got the best faceplate design of any of the SA or SAE models that I’ve seen.
As it happened, this was the third welder that he’d bought from one particular guy. He’d also bought a miller big 40, and an SA-200 pipeliner. This SAE-300 was just something the guy wanted to get rid of. He said it was running at one point, then it quit working. He had a mechanic go over it and still couldn’t get it going. So the guy was more than willing to give my friend a great, and I mean GREAT deal on this machine just to get it out of his shop. So he happily took it off his hands and brought it back to the jobsite.
One of the fringe benefits for me, was that I got to tinker with these welders and then weld/play with them. So after drooling over this welder for awhile, he asked me to try to get it going. We put a new battery in it to get it turning over, and then fixed a sticking float in the carburetor. It fired up immediately and sounded perfect. I really was jealous now. I put a hood on and tried to strike an arc. Nothing. No spark, no nothing. So with nothing to lose we pulled the brushes and cleaned them up with some emery cloth. Put them back in and fired up the welder again. Struck an arc and voila! PERFECT! One of the smoothest welders I’ve ever had the pleasure of welding with. I won’t tell you what he paid for this welder since he may be still trying to sell it, but the guy that sold it to him could have gotten more money if he would have sold the welder for the scrap metal price. Hell, just the custom running gear that this welder came with was worth much more than what he paid for everything . Some guys have all the luck. Here are some pictures of it.