Midwest Old Threshers, 1887 Threshers Road, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 52641
When it comes to gas engines, Mike Dietze likes the unusual. He brought nine of his eleven Dempster gas engines to the 1998 Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The Dempster line was the featured gas engine this year.
With 63 engines, Dietze's collection is sizable, although he doesn't collect just for the numbers. 'Numbers don't mean anything to me in a collection,' according to Dietze. 'If I don't personally like it, I don't buy it. They've got to mean something to me.'
So what is it about an engine that captures Dietze's fancy? 'I like it if they're a little different,' Dietze explained. 'I like different shaped hoppers. There are some rare engines out there and I'm not knocking them. I'm just glad we don't all like the same engine.'
Dempster introduced its first engine in 1902, which is now very rare. The engines provided power for corn grinders, washing machines, water pumps or any type of operation requiring belt power.
There are early and late styles within the Dempster line, according to Dietze. Though the later models were designed for the same work as the early engines, they were more refined. 'They had fewer moving parts so there were fewer things that could go wrong.'
Dietze, owner of a plumbing and well business, has another interest in addition to gas engines. He and his brother have a Rumely Oil-Pull that they are busy restoring. Along with the plumbing business and restoration work, in an average year Dietze tries to participate in four or five shows. He has been to the Old Threshers Reunion 21 times. 'There are 'A' number-one people here. A lot of people ask questions at this show and we get more volume here,' Dietze said.
Next summer, perhaps the restored Rumely, along with gas engines, will accompany Dietze to the 1999 Old Threshers Reunion, September 2-6, in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.