By Staff
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Old Engines

Page 13 of this issue features some great vintage shots
submitted by reader David Babcock, whose period photographs have
graced these pages many times. Dave’s submission reminds me of the
historic quality inherent in photographs taken “in the day,” and
similar, recent submissions by Art Gaier, John Davidson and David
Kolzow Sr., to name just a few, help bring the importance of
preserving vintage photographs into sharp focus.

On that note, I’d like to ask readers who have vintage
photographs – and more specifically original negatives – to contact
us so we might make copies of their material. The idea is to build
an archive of material we can use not only in the magazine today,
but have on hand tomorrow to show future collectors and restorers
what their engines and equipment originally looked like. There must
be thousands of old negatives out there waiting to be developed
into prints and shared with the rest of the old iron community, and
with luck we can capture some of those images and preserve them for
the future.

Big Engines

Behemoth engines like the Worthingtons tenderly looked after by
Joe Kopp (page 20) aren’t exactly the norm in our hobby. Even so,
they have their own siren song, their sheer size calling engine
fans for closer inspection and appreciation. Engines in this class
were as revolutionary for small-town America as the more-familiar
stationary engines we collect were for rural America, and it’s good
to see examples like this restored and kept in running order;
physical – and vocal – reminders of an important era in American

Slightly smaller, but no less impressive, is the 50 HP Bessemer
restored by Missourians Gary Bahre and Jim Baue. As their story on
page 6 explains, the pair had been looking for a large gas engine,
and they certainly found it in the Bessemer. Engines in the
Bessemer’s class were once common, employed around the country for
anything from oil pumping duties to running generators. Like the
Worthington engines, Bessemer engines played an important role
powering America’s economic engine, and their quality construction
is an enduring legacy.

Little Engines

On the other end of the spectrum, on page 17 we continue our Red
Wing scale engine buildup, which, readers will note, has been
extended to a five-part series from the planned four. Richard
Dickey, who’s building the engine and reporting his progress, has
discovered that building a scale engine isn’t small in
complications. The process is both demanding and satisfying, and
Richard decided he couldn’t thoroughly describe the buildup if he
wrapped it up this issue, a complication we’re sure readers will

Richard Backus


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