701 Park Forest Garland, Texas 75042.
You may have 'created a monster' here you know, now that I've gotten an even bigger 'kick' from seeing my letter published as an article in the October '88 GEM! The only other time that happened was when I sent photos to a model railroading magazine many moons ago and they got published. Oh yeah, there was that picture I took of a wreck while a stringer for UPI at the Indianapolis 500. It was spread around the nation too but my name wasn't on it. They all have been an unexpected source of enjoyment for me and I'll tell you, the best part was getting all kinds of response from all the (pardon the use of your name, but it fits) GEMS- those marvelous gas engine men out there who took the time to call or sit down and write to me about 'my article.' I feel a number of new friendships brewing because of them and because you chose to run my letter as a separate piece. Thanks for that.
The 'GEMS' (there I go again- can't resist a good pun) that called or wrote were a big help in answering the mystery of the unshrouded chugger. The really interesting part of that was that as it answered questions, it raised more, which has sparked me on. Yes, my engine is a Briggs &. Stratton, model BR6, guessed to be about 1939.I had contacted an advertiser of yours whose ad promised parts for the old 770 Clinton I was making run, and he identified the Briggs from a picture. He wrote back saying he had a shroud for it too. It was a pleasure dealing with him, Gregg Harrell, in Indiana, as parts arrived quickly and at a reasonable cost. I hope the other suppliers whom I plan to use are as satisfactory. Anyway, the Big Briggs, as I call it, went together. I got a condenser out of my '56 Mercury and went with four other engines to the first meet I ever showed at, that was Gainesville, Texas, September 1989. It was also the first one at all for me since mid-seventies trips to the Rushville, Indiana show.
I took a couple of interested friends with me and we all had a ball! The day was hot, but lots of trees helped. There were some of the most beautifully restored machines I ever saw- tractors, engines and associated machinery. The demonstrations, such as rope making, were fascinating. I plan to attend as many more of these shows within about a 6 hour drive as I can, and to collect a few more old iron mills to show. The best part of all this was the people-good, earthy, friendly people with whom I felt really at home. This includes the caller-inners and letter-writers previously mentioned, too.
About the engines, I'm hoping to see more iron from the more recent period such as I have in articles and letters. I like the old hit &. miss, and steam has always been a passion (locomotives, though). The tractors are often awe-inspiring but I just don't have the room, back, or pocket-book for much more than a few of the small ones. This practically eliminates, for me, the other good stuff. There's probably a broad and gaining interest in the engines of the 30's to 50's which are doable now. After all, that makes 'em 30 to 60 years old which ain't exactly new! They're still reasonably plentiful, reasonably priced and mostly running out of time. So, the old adage 'make hay while the sun shines' surely applies here. Nonetheless, I hope to find a few hit &. miss, exposed crank, 1-2 HP, to show also and I'm sure that'll come with time and as my circumstances change.
One thing I know for sure, the sight and sound of an old engine that hasn't hit a lick in years sitting on the shop floor just purring away is all the reward I need. The rest is icing on the cake, though I have always been fond of sweets! Shows are such a wonderful way of sharing these things and I thank you for having a magazine as fine as GEM to expand the sharing. Keep up the good work. I've included a photo of a part of my brood for use as you please. Sorry there are none of the Gainesville show to share but the camera, with film, was stolen shortly thereafter and not recovered.