Young Iron: Matthew B. Caton

Matthew B. Caton who owns at least 45 engines, enjoys the thrill of the chase for antique gas engines.

| October/November 2016

  • Young Iron Matthew B. Caton bought his first flywheel engine when he was 7 years old.
    Photo courtesy Matthew B. Caton

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 here in Young Iron.

Matthew B. Caton, Age: 35, Hometown: Meyersdale, PA

Q: How long have you been collecting gas engines?
A: My father and I bought our first flywheel engine, a 1908 Detroit vertical cylinder gas engine, when I was 7 years old.

Q: What attracted you to the hobby?
A: A combination of moving parts, loud noises, smoke, meeting interesting people, and the thrill of a wild goose chase looking for engines.

Q: Who else in your family collects engines?
A: Just my father and me.

Q: How many engines do you have in your collection? Any rare or unusual ones?
A: I have at least 45 engines. My rarest engine would be the Miller Machine Works engine, built in the early 1900s in Springs, Pennsylvania, which is in the same county I live in. Also the 2-cylinder Twentieth Century steam engine is the only portable Twentieth Century known. It ran the line shafts at the Miller Machine Works machine shop.