R.R 1, Quinter, Kansas 67752
Like most 'iron' collectors, I enjoy looking over other collections of engines and tractors and have seen many collections in the United States. I noticed articles sent to the Gas Engine Magazine from collectors in England and decided it would be interesting to visit Great Britain and Europe and see along with the usual tourist attractions, some of the collections there.
Toward the end of March 1978, I left Kansas City, via Chicago, for Frankfurt, Germany. Some neighbors flew with me to visit friends in Kassal. I left then at the airport and boarded the train for Stuttgart. This was a new experience since I don't speak a word of German. In Stuttgart I stayed with a relative and we visited the MercedesBenz factory and museum. They have a beautiful museum with several gas engines on display, all restored to perfection. The only name I recognize was an Otto with one flywheel, built in the 1890s. There were also the first Benz and Daimler automobiles, and several huge Mercedes engines which powered Zeppelin air ships in the 1930s. The name 'Mercedes' was given to the automobile when the company received financial backing from a man whose daughter's name was Mercedes.
From Stuttgart I traveled to see the German Museum in Munich, comparable to our Smithsonian. There I saw the first Otto, and the first successful Diesel engine, along with many other gas and steam engines.
Spending only one day in Munich I left early on Easter morning for Paris. I don't speak any French either and had quite a time finding a hotel in Paris that wasn't full.
From Paris the train took me to Calais and I boarded the boat to cross the English Channel and finally arrived in London. I enjoyed touring London very much and being able to speak the language again was great. One gentleman asked if I was from Texas as I wore a leather cowboy hat.
The Science Museum in London contained many nice stationary engines such as Crossley, Blackstone, Ruston and others.
After two days in London I took the train for Swindon. I gave up the idea of renting a car after riding in a taxi; they all drive on the wrong side of the street! From Swindon I took another taxi to the village of Blunsdon to visit M. J. Ockwell with whom I had corresponded. Mick, his parents, and brother were exceptional in their hospitality and I felt right at home. Mick has a very nice collection and he does some of the best restoration work I have seen. He restored an Overtime (Waterloo Boy) from a pile of parts and it looks better than new. He makes new fenders for his tractors and now is making them for other collectors as well. Among his tractors are the Overtime, 1020 Titan, L Case, two 816 I.H.C.'s (called Junior in England), a Farmall, and a rare Alldays and Onions which he hopes to restore in the future along with other tractors in his collection. Mick collects engines as well as has a nice 8 H.P. Associated and many others, including an upright Victoria.
We visited an old gentleman nearby who ran a saw mill and it was powered by a Ruston engine. He ran the engine for us and it never missed a shot.
Then on to another collector, whose name I have misplaced, who was busy cranking a Fordson when we got there, and as with most Fordsons, it wouldn't start.
The next day we drove close to 40 miles to see Stewart Colliss. A grain buyer was there that day and, over coffee, we figured wheat was worth much more there than we get here. If I figured correctly it brings five dollars a bushel there. Stewart has a large collection and has several sheds full. Among his collection are an Overtime, 816 I.H.C., Field Marshall, W121.H.C. Fordsons, and many others.
While walking through one building I stumbled over a clutch for a Waterloo Boy and as I had looked all over the U.S. and couldn't find one, and here was an extra, (and only 7,000 miles from home), I bought it from him, along with a crankcase cover. Mick crated and shipped them for me and so I now have enough to finish my Waterloo Boy.
Our next stop was to see a collection of around 150 tractors. Among them an Overtime, 1020 Titan, Moline Universal, 1225 Mogul, Alldays and Onions, John Deeres, Fordsons and many others, owned by the Wilkins brothers.
With time growing short I said goodby to the Ockwells and left to return to Frankfurt. After staying over night in Cologne we pulled out for Kassal and in between someplace, I spotted from the train window, five steel sheeled tractors window, five steel wheeled tractors in a yard. The only one I recognized was an L Case.
I met my neighbors in Kassal and we visited a farm implement dealer, he knew of a 1934 Lanz Bulldog tractor owned by an old man, and he had tried to buy it for display at his shop, with no luck.
Well two weeks is not enough time in Europe and I hope to return some day. It was a great experience.