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.
Q: How long have you been collecting gas engines?
A: I was introduced to the hit-and-miss gas engine hobby about a year and a half ago.
Q: What attracted you to the hobby?
A: I never knew much about hit-and-miss gas engines. The first time I heard of them was when I went to an auction in Baraboo, Wis., with my boyfriend, his family and their close friends. Once I looked at the engines at the auction I started to ask questions and got more and more interested. I bought an engine that day and have been enjoying learning more and more about the hobby ever since.
Q: Who else in your family collects engines?
A: No one in my family collects, but my boyfriend’s family and friends, who are like a second family to me, all collect gas engines. All together with all the families there are more than 35 engines.
Q: What engines do you have in your collection?
A: I currently have one hit-and-miss gas engine. It’s a 1917 Hercules 1-1/2 HP.
Q: What is your favorite engine in your collection?
A: My favorite engine is obviously my Hercules, not just because it’s my only engine but it was my first engine and it has shown me so much about how gas engines work, operate and their place in agricultural history.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: I recently had a hand in restoring my boyfriend’s 1920 3 HP Hercules so that when finished we would have a matching pair.
Q: What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve come across in the hobby?
A: Most of the obstacles I’ve come across as a young collector would have to be the price of engines and finding time to work on them. Also I have found as a girl my abilities are sometimes in question, but I enjoy showing that I am capable of gaining the respect from older collectors.
Q: What are your favorite engines and why?
A: My favorite type of engines would have to be hit-and-miss engines. I love the sound they make and it is amazing how versatile they can be.
Q: If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine to own?
A: I would like to purchase the full series of Hercules engines ranging from the smallest to the largest. In my eyes, Hercules engines are fascinating because of their history and being the first engine I owned. I would like to send out a special thanks to the Knuth, Breitrick and Langner families for helping me with the start of my engine collecting.
Young Iron is looking for gas engine collectors, age 35 and younger. If you or someone you know would like to be profiled, please contact associate editor Beth Beavers: (800) 682-4704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.