Young Iron: Brent Haldeman


Brent Haldeman with his Sparta Economy.

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Take a quick glance at the exhibitors and attendees at gas engine shows, and it’s easy to think that this is an older person’s hobby. But take a closer look and you’ll find a growing number of younger enthusiasts. You’ll meet them in Young Iron.

Brent Haldeman
Age: 26
Location: Palm, PA

Q: How long have you been collecting gas engines?
A: About eight years. And it all started with a 1928 Stover Model KA 2 HP. Then I got bit by the engine bug!

Q: What attracted you to the hobby?
A: I have been working on tractors and cars from the time I could ride a bike. My entire family works on cars at our family business. So my natural interest for engines is what attracted me to the hobby.

Q: Who else in your family collects engines?
A: As of right now it’s just my dad and I. But I hope my daughter gains interest in the hobby as well. She is 5 years old.

Q: How many engines do you have in your collection? 
A: Well, we have 25 engines in our collection. The unusual one is a circa-1910 Westinghouse light plant that was used for charging batteries in the old farm houses. It looks like a Delco light plant but it’s twice as big! And twice as heavy!

Q: What’s your favorite engine in your collection?
A: My favorite engine is our 4 HP Galloway. This engine ran a water pump on the farm in my backyard. The house I live in was built on the property of the farm, so this engine never left Palm! We now have it mounted on a truck and take it to all our local shows. The engine had the governor weights broken off, so I got that repaired. I put some lighter springs on the weights and it now runs at 190 RPMs! The engine has never been repainted, just degreased. So it’s all original (except the governor weight).

Q: What are your favorite kinds of engines?
A: I like all engines, but my favorites are the hit-and-miss style. Everyone thinks fuel economy is a new thing but it’s not! Look at the hit-and-miss engine, it only fires when it’s needed! My favorite is the Hercules line of engines. We have the Hercules, Economy and Jaeger. And we’re still looking for the rest of them.

Q: If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine to own?
A: I would love to get a Columbus engine! But I was at an auction in Leola, Pa., where a 6 HP Columbus engine went up for sale. It was the first Columbus made in 1898, serial no. 6000! This engine sold for $85,000! WOW! And I was there to witness it!