Young Iron: Drake S. Pearson

Collector Drake S. Pearson has expensive taste when it comes to antique gas engines.

Drake S Pearson with Gas Engines

Drake S. Pearson with his collection of gas engines.

Photo courtesy Drake S. Pearson

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Take a quick glance at the exhibitors and attendees at gas engine shows, and it’s easy to think that this is an older person’s hobby. But take a closer look and you’ll find a growing number of younger enthusiasts, such as Drake S. Pearson. You’ll meet them in Young Iron.

Q: How long have you been collecting antique gas engines?
A: About three years.

Q: What attracted you to the hobby?
A: I went to a garage sale with my grandfather and in the back of the man’s garage there were three Hercules engines. They fascinated me, and when I got to talking to the man that owned them he tipped me off to a local show in my area.

Q: Who else in your family collects engines?
A: My grandfather and I got into the hobby together.

Q: What engines do you have in your collection?
A: 3/4 HP early Ideal lawn mower engine, Standard cream separator engine, two Maytag 92s, two Maytag Twins, Stover CT2, Maytag Upright, Briggs FH, Maytag 82, Hummer (unsure of exact HP) and a few others.

Q: What is your favorite engine in your collection?
A: My 3/4 HP Ideal lawn mower engine, mainly because it was my first hit-and-miss engine as well as my first big project.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: I just got done with my 1/2 HP Maytag Upright. It was a very fun project, still haven’t gotten the stubborn thing to run quite right but it’s getting there.

Q: Which shows do you normally attend each year? What show haven’t you been to yet that you’d like to see one day?
A: I attend all my local shows. I hope to start going to some out of state. The show I would love to see one day is the Le Sueur show and swap in Minnesota.

Q: What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve come across in the hobby?
A: Space has been the biggest obstacle. There has never been enough money to buy it all but I have been able to support my habit through scrapping metal, lawn mowing and odd jobs. The older collectors have been more than helpful and supportive – I could never have gotten this far if it weren’t for their help.

Q: What are your favorite engines and why?
A: As with most I have a fondness for the hit-and-miss open crank engines. I’ve been told I have expensive taste!

Q: If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine to own?
A: I would love to own a New Holland of any horsepower. I like the way the hopper is completely open. I also hear they run great.

Young Iron is looking for gas engine collectors, age 35 and younger. If you or someone you know would like to be profiled, please contact Associate Editor Beth Beavers: (800) 682-4704 or