Wisconsin & England Linked by Tape

Verne Kindschi's Rumely Oil Pull

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Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 17022.

'For two hours the audience sat spellbound.'

That's how a British newspaper, 'The World's Fair,' described the reaction of the Banbury Steam Society to slides and tape recorded commentary depicting a typical American vintage show and gas-up.

The slides show what happens when the Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club of Baraboo, Wisconsin puts on its annual event. Verne W. Kindschi, a club officer who narrated the material, sent it to Banbury founder member Brian Money who arranged the program for his group.

The newspaper article indicated 'considerable interest' in the Oil Pull tractors and commented on the wide range of stationary engines which 'still survive' in the United States.

Mr. Kindschi very kindly sent us a tape telling something about the Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club and about his own interest in collecting.

The club is in its 13th year and has from 150 to 200 members. It puts on what is perhaps the biggest show of its kind in Wisconsin, exhibiting 300 gas engines, 50 to 60 tractors and usually from 6 to 10 steam engines. The event is growing. In fact, some limits may have to be set on the popular flea market section of the show.

Kindschi tells an interesting story about how he started his gas engine collecting hobby. It seems that one time when he was renting a farm from two elderly ladies he noticed an old International up in the barn. He asked one of the ladies, Martha by name, what she did with the engine. Although an admirable woman, she told him in no uncertain terms that she didn't do anything with it. Did he want to buy it? He did, so for $15.00 he was on his way. He tinkered around, fixed it up and then, he says, there was nothing to do except get some more. So began his collection which now numbers between 75 and 80 engines depending upon his latest swap or purchase.

Verne and a cousin farm about 1,000 acres and keep about 300 head of cattle on feed at all times. They raise approximately 700 acres of corn and 100 to 150 acres of soybeans. They raise hybrid seed corn for an outfit in Illinois.

Kindschi says he is a 'self-proclaimed expert on Fuller & Johnson.' Some years back he wanted some information on engines that this company had made. He heard about a fellow in Madison who had records of the firm. Kindschi went to see the man who did indeed have the records, which he kept in his coal cellar.

To shorten the story a bit, the chap had some major surgery and didn't want to bother any more with looking up records for people so he offered the books to Kindschi. Verne accepted. This really got him involved in the gas engine hobby.

These old ledgers can tell when an engine was shipped and to whom. Kindschi says he has looked up data on more than 1,000 engines for people. He estimates the Fuller & Johnson Company built about 180,000 gas engines.

From this Kindschi has branched out into selling decals and reprints of Fuller & Johnson catalogs and instruction books.

To Kindschi, the most important result of his 15-year-old hobby has been meeting so many fine people. He has visited gas engine shows in various states.

Verne Kindschi's Rumely Oil Pull He would like to visit England to see one of that nation's engine events. We are sure the Banbury Steam Society would welcome him, especially since they enjoyed his narration of the Badger Club's 100-slide carousel so much.

Incidentally, or perhaps not so incidentally, Verne has been getting the Gas Engine Magazine ever since the first issue. We gather he thinks it's a real gem. He also reads the Iron-Man Album but his first interest is gas engines.

Along with his tape, he sent us pictures of some of his engines. We think you will find them interesting.

20 HP Fuller & Johnson. Verne's 'pride and joy.' Verne is shown with Tom Graves, the tall slim fellow. Tom is from Oregon. He restored the engine originally and sold it to Verne. Engine was built in 1914.