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It's late January as I write, and here in the Midwest we're deep in the throes of winter. Until this week the weather's been pretty mild, but yesterday's ice storm and today's snow and falling temperature have combined to end any hopes of escaping winter's wrath.

It's not exactly engine weather, to be sure, and this is exactly the time of year when most of us start looking warmly toward spring and summer. Last year's engine shows are a memory, but the promise of another round rings loudly.

There is, however, a good side to the off-season most of us suffer through, and that's the completion of newly acquired engine projects. If you can't show, at least you can get ready - as two glorious engines featured in this month's issue attest.

Both Bruce Lawson and Craig Prucha live in western New York, an area of the country that sees more than its fair share of inclement weather. Over the course of several seasons, Bruce lovingly restored his 21 HP Otto into the jewel it is now (turn to page 5 for the story), taking it from a worn-out relic to a properly functioning engine. And Craig's fever to restore his rare 25 HP Swan was so strong it pushed him to get the engine running in less than a year. A long winter season and the promise of shows to come helped both of them bring their engines back into the old-iron fold.

On another note, we have a follow-up article from air-cooled engine fan Kenneth Scales. In the February 2004 issue, Ken documented the sale of Hummer engines by Montgomery Ward & Co. This month, Ken's documentation of air-cooled offerings from Montgomery Ward goes a step farther, as Ken lays out who built what and when for Montgomery Ward in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Curiously, the University of Wyoming in Laramie is the repository of Montgomery Ward records and catalogs, and Ken asks anyone in that part of the country interested in helping him research Montgomery Ward catalog engines to give him a call. Look for Ken's contact information at the end of his article on page 28.

Finally, readers will want to note a change starting with this issue. To wit, our two Internet columns, the Stationary Engine List and SmokStak, now fall under one unifying heading, Community Shop Talk. The Stationary Engine List's Helen French and SmokStak's Harry Matthews will continue entertaining GEM readers with snapshots of online discussions routinely taking place in engine cyberspace.