RFD #2, Grand Ledge, Michigan 48837
This is about some acquaintances who deserve recognition out in Gas Engine Land. All these people are very active in steam and gas engines in Michigan, and they have forgotten more than I will ever know about gas engines.
First is Cliff Peterson of Grass Lake, Michigan (center tractor). Cliff built a miniature oil pull for his nephew, Donald Rhoads (miniature Oil Pull left). This was Cliff's first attempt about 12 years ago; then in 1977, Cliff thought that it was time to have one for himself. Then Elwin Bronson of Otsego, Michigan, told Cliff that he would surely like to have one, so back to the shop for Cliff. By spring of this year, behold-another mini Oil Pull is born. I might add that all three of the fellows have an almost full line of full-size Oil Pulls, plus many gas engines and tractors.
My next picture shows a 1/2 scale spoke flywheel John Deere 'D' built by Dave Barry of Hastings, Michigan. Dave is also very active in steam as well as gas. The steam show was held on his land for many years. Dave talked about building a scale model for many years and collected iron for miles around. One day he came up with an idea to build a 1/2 scale J.D. 'D.' I was over to Dave's shop in mid-winter of 1978, and in one corner of his shop lay the remains of two John Deere H's, and I mean remains!
It looked like a junk dealer's delight. Six weeks later, it looked like a pile of rusty junk with axles on it. When I went back to see Dave on July 8, as usual he was in the shop with wrench in one hand and paint brush in the other. Dave told me that he had well over 100 hours in building the flywheel alone-Dave is scale conscious-even the spokes in the rear wheel are to scale. The only modification he said should be made is when he added his Amish rubber to the wheels; it made the diameter of the wheels one inch too big (picky, picky).
At the show at Charlton Park on July 9, and 10,I wish that I had had a movie camera and a tape recorder to record the look on people's faces and the questions that they asked. Dave got off the tractor once to get a bite to eat so he let me go for a ride and a man stopped me to ask if it was a salesman sample. The man turned out to be a John Deere dealer. I might add that the tractor runs as beautifully as it looks. In our quick start competition, Dave had a combined time of five seconds for three starts.
I would like to comment on the Charlton Park show held on the second weekend of July. The four men in the pictures are probably as responsible for the show as anybody. The Park was willed to the county by a man by the name of Charlton. He had a private collection 'Of many tractors and gas engines covering about 40 acres. These four men, plus a couple of others, got together with the Park manager and offered to restore some of the iron, from an 1896 Flamlicker aids to J.D.D. to many other pieces. They now have a large two-story fieldstone museum, church, inn, blacksmith shop, one-room school, three stores, post office and a bank. The Park was built on the banks of the Thornapple River near Hastings, Michigan.