If you collect antique engines, or other pieces of oldtime farm equipment, you will want to know all you can about them.
Advice on how to find out is provided in a very useful technical leaflet titled, 'Antique Farm Equipment: Research and Identifying.' It is written by Robert C. Williams, of the History of Engineering Program and Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
The eight-page brochure, available through this magazine at $1.50 postpaid, is published by the American Association for State and Local History.
Williams, who supervised the researching and documentation of the Lubbock County Museum, an agricultural collection, consults with persons restoring farm machinery and old windmills.
Suppose you have an engine and you want to broaden your knowledge about it. Williams recommends various steps.
First, study the object itself for names, model numbers, patent dates, trademarks, instructions or anything else on it.
If you bought it from someone, or got it as a gift, try to find from that person all he or she knows about it, and record what you find out.
If you find a maker's name on it, this can lead to a lot of data; the author provides many valuable possible sources in addition to the manufacturer.
Parts numbers can help if catalogues can be located; owner's manuals, old ads, and other printed material can assist.
Collectors and restorers in the neighborhood may prove to be great sources of information.
Nebraska Test Reports can also be studied; Williams cites Gas Engine Magazine and Iron-Men Album, both of which are Stemgas publications, as additional resources.
The author is speaking primarily to museum staff members, but we feel that all he says can be of tremendous help to the individual collector.
He lists many books, magazines and other publications which together could compose a fascinating library for collectors and restorers.
If you are searching for clues to bring together the story of what you have, this is an excellent guide. While Anna Mae's columns are an ongoing clearing house for those with questions seeking answers, the Williams' leaflet should most certainly also be part of every wise collector's collection.