'It Runs on Idaho Potatoes!'

Western engine

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Box 1411 Salmon, Idaho 83467

This engine is from Idaho and runs on Idaho potatoes. Of course these were two-pound potatoes when I started this morning. We're always looking for new ways to use potatoes in Idaho!

This tall tale began in March when my husband decided, at the last minute, to take along an extra spark plug for our 1925, 60 HP Western. He screwed it into a handy hole a ball valve, and thought no more of it. We were on our way to the Superstition Show in Apache Junction, Arizona, about 100 miles from our home in Congress and he wanted to be well prepared.

That lone, wireless spark plug gave rise to nearly as much attention as our large engine did, running quietly at 14 RPM. You could see puzzlement, belief and disbelief register on the faces of the public as they listened, watched, and then broke into large smiles and got out their cameras.

Our Western engine was originally sold to the American Oil Company in Los Angeles, California, and later purchased by an irrigation district in Riverside, California. We purchased it from its fourth owner, Frank Hora of Rubi-doux, California. Lloyd spent November and December putting the pieces together and fine tuning it for the winter show season. This was the only show where he had carried an extra spark plug in such an unusual place. Once a natural gas engine, this Western runs well on an old brass and glass Stromberg Number 3 carburetor patented 1909.

The Superstition show will be an annual show sponsored by the Arizona Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association. This year, the first, there were 250 engines displayed and 86 tractors, many participating in the tractor pull. There were people from all over the U.S. and Canada there, including some bemused Idaho spud farmers.