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The Future of our Hobby ...


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Ten years ago when I first brought antique engines to the Internet, I had thought it might be a way to introduce engine collecting to our younger generation. I worked for 23 years at a college, doing technical support in radio, television and computers, which placed me in and around the younger generation as I aged out of it and retired. The following bulletin board thread was started by Craig. It introduces some of those people in the younger generation, who will carry on our hobby.

• I like to check profiles and see what interests visitors and members have, especially when checking out the chat room. More often than not, there is no other information other than their location. This has probably been done before, but I'm asking, how many "youngsters" - those 25 or under, the hobby's future - frequent this site? - Craig

• I am 23 and I bought my first engine back in 1989. It was a 1-1/2 IHC M, missing all the parts and rusty. I still have it, but I never got it running. I learned a lot, though. - Jon

• I'm 23, almost 24. Been collecting since 1986, when my dad literally helped me drag a 7 HP Saxon home. I have 50-plus engines now. I see a few collectors my age or younger around, but not too many. - Nick

• I'm 19, but not able to work with old equipment as much as I'd like to because I'm away at school. Right now, I'm working on an Oliver 60, but I do like to play with my grandpa's old engines from time to time. - Jake

• I'm 21. In a few months I will be going to school for two years for machining, then I am going to get my welder's certification. I have been welding, playing with old engines, farming and hanging around machine shops since I was about 8. - Tanner

• I am 20. My biggest problem is money and trying to keep up with college. I have a Novo, a Fairbanks Z and a lot of air-cooled motors. I'd love to get more, but I don't have the time anymore, and I certainly don't have the money. We younger people are out here, but we also have less time to devote to old engines. - Serf

• I am 23 years old and a college student double-majoring in mechanical engineering and construction management at Colorado State University. I am really only collecting information right now, looking at pictures and just trying to learn something new everyday until I graduate and start my career so that I can start collecting actual engines. As you well know, this isn't the cheapest hobby on the planet, and being a college student equals being broke. But my day is coming! - Ben

• I am quite new to this site, but I have seen a lot of young people in the 10 and under group get a kick out of old engines and tractors. Many seem to lose interest when they hit their teens, and attention turns to the fairer sex, vehicles, etc. But I have seen quite a few come back later in life, when they have some disposable income to start a collection of tractors/engines. - Will

• I'm 25 and I've loved these engines since I first saw them. Bills and car payments make it hard to get more old iron. I don't see how the young guys can afford these engines. I have a 2 HP Taylor and a Maytag, but I'm looking to trade the Taylor to a guy down the road for a 1-3/4 HP Economy. - Jeb

• I am 23 years old and I have been working on engines since I was 17 or so, starting with small air-cooled engines. Recently, I have begun collecting Fairbanks-Morse engines. I find this hobby to be very fun and fulfilling, and although there are some problems along the way, it's all worth it in the end. - Johnathan

I added a poll to this thread a bit late in the run, but I think it might be a representative sample of the readers after 186 votes. The thread accumulated 57 responses and 3,152 views to date. - Harry

Age 10 to 19 = 3%
Age 20 to 29 = 8%
Age 30 to 39 = 15%
Age 40 to 49 = 21%
Age 50 to 59 = 22%
Age 60 to 69 = 24%
Age 70 to 79 = 7% is an engine conversation bulletin board and is part of the Old Engine series of websites that started in 1995 as "Harry's Old Engine." Harry Matthews is a retired electronic engineer and gas engine collector from Oswego, N.Y., now residing in Sarasota, Fla.