2 HP Sandwich Kent Blethen

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Editor rbackus@ogdenpubs.com

Just when I start thinking the old-iron collective might have finally and tragically exhausted the available supply of orphaned engines, yet another one turns up. It's amazing to me that 10, 50 and sometimes 100 years after they were abandoned, old engines continue to come literally out of the woodwork. I'll admit the pickings are getting slimmer, but they're still out there.

One look at the 2 HP Sandwich Kent Blethen happened upon should be enough to convince even the most skeptical that there's still plenty of old iron out there waiting to be found. The Sandwich Kent found is a complete, rare and original engine, the kind of find most of us can only dream about. Turn to page 20 to see Kent's great find.

There's no denying that Kent was lucky. He met the right person in the right place at the right time. But finding orphaned iron usually requires a hunt, and a successful hunt takes a commitment of time and energy - plus a willingness and desire to explore.

Just look at the 4 HP 1911 Bovaird & Seyfang Howard 'Sam' Weaver pulled out of an old oil lease in Pennsylvania. He didn't just stumble on that engine, he made its discovery happen by planting seeds and harvesting the results. He was willing to meet people he didn't know and drive to unfamiliar locations in his bid to find some old iron. And the direct result of his commitment and perseverance was a rare and fabulous hot-tube engine. Turn to page 22 for the full story on his great find.

Not everyone moves to the same beat or motivation, of course. Many collectors are motivated by crafting, not hunting. Just look at the various home-built engines and tractors routinely spread across the pages of GEM. This issue is no exception, with four homemade engines and 'tractors' crafted by determined collectors. To the last man, these collectors were motivated by a desire to create something that hadn't previously existed - at least not in the form taken since they put their inventive and creative minds to the task.

That creative streak is at the core of the hobby. Whether it's applied to the hunt or the creation of a new interpretation of old iron, the creative energy of the old-iron collective ensures a never-ending supply of old - and 'new' - equipment for the rest of us to enjoy.