Young Iron: Sarah and Bethanie Riffle
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.
Sarah Riffle (Age 20) and Bethanie Riffle (Age 18)
Location: Warren, OH;
Q: How long have you been collecting gas engines?
A: Sarah Riffle: As far as collecting, it is a family collection. And it was started before I was born.
Bethanie Riffle: I personally don’t have a collection, but I’ve been around them since I was born.
Q: What attracted you to the hobby?
A: Sarah: I had the privilege of growing up with this hobby, but it wasn’t till I was a young teen that I took an interest in the complexity of the engines. Also, you get to work, play and get dirty all at the same time.
Bethanie: Growing up in the hobby I became more interested.
Q: How many engines do you have in your collection?
A: Sarah: We have about 10, such as Foos, Columbus, Angola, Springfield, Miami, Brown, etc.
Bethanie: We have a vertical Bessemer.
Q: What’s your favorite engine in your collection?
A: Sarah: I like the 6 HP hopper-cooled Foos Type S the best. I love the look and design, and it runs beautifully.
Bethanie: I like the Bessemer the most, because it’s a father/daughter project.
Q: Are you working on any restoration projects?
A: Sarah: I’m working on my 6 HP Brown right now, did some mechanical work and now new skids and a cooling tank. I’m also helping where ever I can on the 600 HP Snow at Coolspring (Pa.) Power Museum.
Bethanie: I’ll be starting to work on my Bessemer soon, to replace the cooling tank and a few other things.
Q: If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine to own?
A: Sarah: I want a slide-valve Otto. I love the way they run and that they were some of the first internal combustion engines.
Bethanie: I would want a Domestic, because they run nice and I like the design.
Q: What are your favorite engines and why?
A: Sarah: I like most anything unusual. I like the fact that there aren’t a lot of the same ones out there.
Bethanie: I don’t have any particular kinds; I’m into anything that runs.
Jim Erdle’s Legendary Antique Tractors Sold at Auction
Jim Erdle’s eye for rare and unique tractors has developed quite the reputation over the years, and allowed him to assemble one of the finest tractor collections of all time. But all good things must come to an end.
1902 8 HP Bates & Edmonds Engine
A 1902 8 HP Bates & Edmonds engine with generating set on display at the Coolspring Power Museum.
1918 Blaisdell Air-Compressing Engine
A 1918 65 HP Blaisdell air-compressing engine on display at the Coolspring Power Museum.