A. D. Mast Urges Gas Engine Education

40 HP Reeves and generator

Photo courtesy of Preston Foster.

Preston Foster

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Education, through 'Hands on' inspection and lectures which inform as well as entertain, are seen by A. D. Mast as basic to keeping the interest of young people in antique engines.

Mast, a longtime member of the Rough and Tumble Historical Engineers' Association at Kinzers, Pa., believes that demonstrations of the way engines work are important.

'No stationary gas engines are being produced today,' he notes. 'The young people are not being properly shown how this old equipment was used. We should go into much greater detail than we do. It is not enough to have the engines for people to look at and not touch.'

Mast's collection, which he started 35 years ago, now entertains thousands annually through the events of R & T, and at special sessions he provides for either people who drop in at the grounds, or groups that arrange in advance.

His equipment on view includes engines, pumps, compressors, generators, tractors, a road roller and others. His purpose is to show how they made the burden lighter, and life more enjoyable for everyone.

Retired from Sperry New Holland as a project engineer in the R & D 'sand box', he has numerous pieces he can exhibit and demonstrate at R & T. These include stationary engines such as Meitz & Weiss, Buck, New Holland, Olin, Klein, DeLa-Vergne, Fairbanks Morse, Mogul, Domestic, Reeves, Otto, Columbus, Cook, Lauson, Half Breed and others. His rolling stock includes Hart-Parr, Rumely 6, a 15-ton Austin road roller and Model G OilPull.

40 HP Reeves and generator he got from a Johnstown, Ohio movie theater in 1971.

Mast also has other items to attract his audiences a hot air pumping engine, water rams, air horns from locomotives, and whistles. Audience members are invited to blow the whistles if they like. Most certainly they go away knowing more than they did when they arrived. He shares in a matter of minutes information he has taken a lifetime to acquire.

Born on a farm near Morgantown, Pa., he grew up with animals and machinery. For several years before leaving the farm he was involved in custom threshing, baling, road grading, silo filling and stone crushing with Huber and Frick steam engines, followed by gas tractors including IHC 8-16, Frick, Minneapolis, McCormick Deering and Rumely Do All.

'Our Frick thresher was good,' he recalls, 'but the Aultman and Taylor was an old smoothie and the farmers liked the 'starving rooster' with an Ann Arbor baler.

'The Blizzard silo filler was far superior to the Ross; however, the latter was preferred for shredding corn fodder.'

His first industrial job was with Dellinger Manufacturing Co. Then he went on his own for 20 years, mainly designing and building machines for manufacturing plants around Lancaster. He joined Daffin Corp. about 1956, in charge of research and development. From there he went to Sperry New Holland. Since retirement he has been upgrading his collection.

Young people have taken an interest in engines through contact with him. Oliver Snowden looks after his OilPull at R & T, where he keeps his engines; Snowden, who is middle aged, hails from Blue Ball, Pa. Marshall Stayman looks after Mast's 15-ton roller. Mast comments, 'They do a splendid job.'

Mast's collection includes a full set of five New Holland gas engines. He's looking for someone to take responsibility for them and others during shows.

He lives at 46 Danbury Road, Lancaster, Pa. 17601. His telephone number is 717-569-0636.