Collector Allan Riley

Allan Riley Collection

Collector Allan Riley and his son Don display some of Allan's models.

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21224 Placerita Canyon Road Newhall, CA 91321

Allan Riley is the senior member of our Western Antique Power Associates Engine Club at Alhambra, California. He turned age 102, and counting, last July 14. He was born close by Jackson Junction near Fort Atkinson, Iowa, in 1885.

By 1903, he worked for the Hart-Parr tractor company going out to farms to instruct in the usage and repair of tractors. He could have roamed the world servicing Hart-Parrs, but chose to join his sisters in California by 1905. There he worked breaking horses on a ranch in Red-lands until he started to U.S.C. and lived in the oldest building still standing on that campus. He still has some papers he prepared for a mechanical drawing class. They are marked 'Very good.'

The adventure of marriage to Beulah Donnell in 1910 included fathering four daughters and two sons. By 1913 he was teaching wood turning, mechanical drawing, machine shop and pattern-making at Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California. He migrated to San Diego in 1919 to run the Moon car agency but, in 1923, went north to Modesto to become principal of the part-time high school while teaching automobile mechanics and mechanical drawing until the part-time high school became a budget casualty of the Depression.

The Depression meant a move to Fontana and supporting a wife and six children on a variety of 'whatever' jobs, until he went to work for Lockheed Aircraft Company as a machinist in 1941. He later became a liaison tooling inspector. When the union and Lockheed decided in 1956 that all employees must retire at age 65, Allan had to retire-at age 73.

Since 1971 he has lived with his son and daughter-in-law in Newhall, California. At age 95 he bought castings for a popcorn wagon-sized steam engine and finished it, complete with working fly-ball governor, in his son's garage.

For his 98th birthday, his family got Dad-Grandpa-Great-grandpapa a 50 caliber 'Hawkins' rifle kit. This he finished and assembled. It is a museum-quality piece. His former hunting trips and Gun Club days are treasured memories.

He survived a broken leg at age 98 and a broken arm at age 101, working faithfully at his physical therapy. In 1986 and several other years he flew to Montana to visit his daughter at Flathead Lake. At age 100 he flew to visit his granddaughter and family in North Carolina and had a great time.

His son has valued his ability to pour babbitt bearings and to blue and scrape bearings in equipment. Some were eleven-inch bearings poured into a 36' long mandrel. He also fabricated missing castings with Kirksite using Propane to melt it.

Weather permitting he still goes out under the oak trees in the backyard each day. There he disassembles rusty equipment and, with a ten-inch wire brush, buffs it clean and reassembles and paints it. He's an expert at freeing rusted and frozen parts. He uses Kroil, a fine penetrating oil, and lots of patience.

Recently we cleaned some magnetos and valves and have our Galloway 1? Handy Andy completely disassembled.

He is a great dad-aware, caring, a philosopher with a sense of humor who can talk to anyone.