Auction do's & don'ts

broken rocker

Broken rocker, 3 HP rocker, and the crank.

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This story, in a way, is about some do's and don'ts and what can sometimes be done with a little imagination. The photography is not the greatest but is the best this amateur could come up with.

Well, to start off, this escapade came about with a couple of phone calls from engine buddies of mine. First, Bob Herrington, president of Western New York Gas and Steam Engine Association, called me and said, 'There is going to be an auction on your road and a big hit & miss engine will be for sale! Knowing that you love engines, I think you'd better look at this one.' Now, I don't have to tell you engine nuts that a call like this is really good news and gets you pumped up. We were discussing the auction and the items that he was interested in, when I got another call, this time from the Wheatfield engine man, Norm Reichert.

Norm gave me almost the same information. It sure makes you feel good that these fellows think of you when something like this comes up!

It's a lot of iron, Norm said, something that I might want, all original on a cart and looks in good shape. He said it's real dirty and has a broken rocker but the broken piece is lying on the head so the engine is complete.

Yes sir, as soon as the phone was back on the hook, I had my old truck in road gear and was headed for that auction site. Sure enough, all this old machinery is lined up in rows. What a sight, all these antique farm goodies in such excellent condition. There were sleighs, wagons, you name it, it was there. A fellow came up to me and said, 'This machinery has been stored in those barns for 40 years.' Can you imagine a John Deere manure spreader on steel that didn't look like it was ever used?

Then I saw the engine and I said, 'I've got to have this.' It's a 9 HP Economy all original and complete, muffler, mag, oilier, mixer, even the paint which had a good cover of dirt and grease, all this on the original cart with tongue, and the broken rocker piece was on the head.

Now for dos and don'ts. There must be some kind of magnetism in an engine because when people get near one, they seem to have to turn the flywheels. Well, that is a DON'T, unless you have made sure the valves are free. This engine wasn't so lucky. The exhaust valve was frozen and someone turned the flywheel bingo a broken rocker!

I'm telling you, if you had a bushel of rockers and you replaced a broken one every time someone came along and turned those flywheels, you would have a bushel of broken rockers by the end of the auction.

As far as things to DO, one is when we see a part or broken part that is separated from the item to be sold, we should have a member of the auction team put the part in safekeeping for the buyer.

Sure. You guessed it. Someone took the broken piece, which I have heard is sometimes done by a bidder thinking he will get the item cheaper. These are the bad guys. This brings about a CAN DO. We should turn in the bad guys. They go from auction to auction and to engine shows to steal almost anything brass tags, mags oilers, etc. They are NOT engine men. Engine men are the good guys. They help each other. So let's protect our hobby.

Well, I bought the engine, it was the end of the day and next to the last item sold. We can talk about the good guys at auctions, too. It was time to load up. I put the ramps down on my trailer and before I could get my winch strung out, a bunch of guys rolled that engine and rig aboard for me! Thanks to all for that.

Now the engine is home and in need of a rocker. My first thought was to call Donna at Hit & Miss in Ohio can't think of the guy's name out there. Then I'll be darned, look at that crank on the bench. It has the same webb and construction as the rocker and I just happened to have a 3 HP rocker for a sample to work by. So this is where another CAN DO comes in. P. S. If the guy who has the other half of my rocker would like to make a crank, I have the other half of the crank.

I've got to take a break now, hope this has been of interest.