By Staff
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Old Father Time is doing much more than ‘Picking My
Pocket,’ as an old song suggested. He has run the clock out on
many old engine friends, including one that I first met over twenty
years ago, at the Stephenson County Antique Engine Show at
Freeport, Illinois VERNER  HENSEL, 1908-1995.

One evening while looking over the large old tractors, my
attention was drawn to the sound of a quiet, slow-turning engine.
Very slowly approaching, was a 40-60 Rumely Oil Pull, and on the
man-stand, with the bill of his cap turned up, and his hand raised
in greeting, stood the engine man. Pulling the clutch lever, he
invited me onboard. Extending his hand, he said, ‘Howdy,
I’m Verner Hensel.’ I introduced myself, thereby beginning
a friendly relationship that included his wife, Lillian, daughter
Joyce, her husband Gerald Linker, their two sons and daughter and
spouses, his son Bob Hensel, and a number of Verner’s

I’ve been told that Verner, and several other fellows, had
started attending and operating tractors at other shows back in the
late 1950s or early 1960s. Who of us who knew him, can forget his
Chevy Pickup, the word ‘Iron Man’ on its bug deflector, and
the pickup cap that housed his bunk, tools, various pieces of old
‘junque’ and his guitar? Also, we knew that with little or
no encouragement, a harmonica would appear in his hand, and tunes
such as ‘Red Wing’ and ‘The Wabash Cannonball’
would be heard.

Verner farmed near Ohio, Illinois. When show time rolled around,
he and his ‘Tired Iron’ cronies would tour the Midwest and
Canadian show circuit, sometimes for six weeks at a time. In
addition to attending old engine shows they were scouting around
for old gas engines, old tractors and other interesting items of

He also rebuilt, from less than a basket case, a rare 1919 12-24
Russell tractor which, in addition to the Oil Pull and 1920 10-18
cross engine Case and the ‘Hensel Special’ engine, were
shown at a number of shows.

The Hensel Special engine was different. Verner built it with
one crankshaft, two cylinders, four pistons, six connecting rods
and no heads. Crank it over and it would run.

In the natural course of events, Old Father Time’s clock ran
down and stopped for Verner at about 6:15 p.m. on July 31, 1995. I
had gone to the nursing home to visit him but his life was slipping
away. He succumbed to eternal rest with his wife and daughter at
his bedside.

The visitation night at the funeral home, and the funeral the
next day, brought together hundreds of his friends and
acquaintances. It brought to my mind a vision of the closing hours
of an old threshing show, when we say goodbye to our friends and
head for home. With memories of another old engine man, who had
pulled his last flywheel, I imagine Verner with the bill of his cap
turned up, his guitar in one hand, the other hand holding a
harmonica raised in farewell, as he walked into the sunset.

Submitted by Vern Gunderson, White Lake, Wisconsin

JOHN W. PRIBBENOW, age 79, entered into rest January 10, 1996.
He was a charter member of the England Prairie Pioneer Club of the
Verndale-Wadena, Minnesota, area.

For a number of years, John worked in the Dakotas as a foreman
of bridge crews. Later he farmed and worked as a carpenter in the
Verndale area. In his spare time he collected antique gasoline
engines and restored them.

He enjoyed nature, hunting, fishing and collecting rocks.

His enthusiasm and knowledge of old gasoline engines, and
antiques in general, will be greatly missed by his fellow

Cards of condolence can be sent to his daughter, Lindy Ohrmundt,
Rt. #2, Box 26, Wadena, Minnesota 56482.

Submitted by Leo Fellman, 1608 Oak St., Hastings,

ELIZABETH MORRIS, 112 Irwin Road, Powell, Tennessee passed away
January 22, 1996.

She and I were engine collectors for 14 years and she was known
by many of our collector friends as Mrs. Elizabeth. She passed away
at the age of 63, after a four month battle with cancer.

I miss her and so will many of our collector friends.

Submitted by her husband, Joe Morris, Powell,

Joe Morris sent us a copy of a piece his wife Elizabeth had
written, entitled He Restoreth My Soul, in which she compared the
restoration of engines to the redemption of individuals by God, as
written in the Bible. We don’t have room for the entire essay,
but here is how she ended it:

‘The rewards for our labor on this engine are pride in what
we have accomplished an occasional trophy or plaque. Being able to
say, ‘That’s mine,’ having saved it from the smelting

‘God not only saves us from destruction. He has promised
rewards for our restoration and good works-a home in Heaven to
those who have trusted Jesus as saviour and repented of their

‘There could be no greater reward than to hear Him say,
‘Well done.’ ‘

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