By Staff

CHARLES VORNHOLT, 6233 Underwood Avenue S.W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
died on July 9,1990 at the age of 88. Before retiring in 1975 he
had farmed near Solon, Iowa most of his life. He was also a well
known carpenter and cabinetmaker.

A man of many talents, Charlie was an excellent musician early
in life. His musical abilities extended to transposing and
harmonizing melodies for a local band.

Always fascinated with steam and gas power, he attended the
first Midwest Old Thresher’s Reunion at Mt. Pleasant in 1951,
missing only once since that time. He was active in several engine
clubs, and was a charter member of the Midwest Gas Engine and
Tractor Association. Several years ago he was honored as
Thresherman of the Year at the Midwest Old Thresher’s Reunion,
and in May 1990 Charlie was named Exhibitor of the Year at the
Usher’s Ferry Show in Cedar Rapids.

In the 1950’s Charlie began collecting parts for a freelance
steamer. After acquiring a two-cylinder engine from a
Buffalo-Springfield steam roller, he bought a new Lookout vertical
boiler in 1958. That year was the first of many times his steamer
was in action at the Mt. Pleasant Show. In 1970 he completed a
smaller single cylinder freelance steamer, and it too saw many
parades and exhibitions.

About 1970 Charlie began exhibiting gas engines, and his wooden
Maytag washer and 1 HP R & V engine were on display for nearly
twenty seasons at Mt. Pleasant.

Charlie was also a virtual walking encyclopedia of the farm
machinery business, and was able to relate the specs of almost any
steam engine or gas tractor, when it was built, when it was changed
or modified, plus a lot of background information on this
equipment. Through numerous books and articles over the past
twenty-five years, this writer often called on Charlie for
information and background, and in many ways he was my mentor. I
never told Charlie (he probably would have been embarrassed), but
many of the historical catchlights in our writings came from my
many conversations with him.

Now the covert becomes manifest-in his quiet manner, Charlie
added, and will continue to add, new dimensions to our work. For
this writer, for his family, and his many friends, Charlie Vornholt
truly left his mark. That indeed is a rare achievement.

Submitted by Charles H. Wendel, RR 1, Atkins, Iowa

Gas Engine Magazine
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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines