Raymond Swanstone shares his collection stories and interest in collecting gas engines.
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 born into collecting gasoline engines; both sides of my parents’ families were, and are, collectors. My dad’s father sold my mom’s father his first engine. And that’s how my parents met. And I was almost born at the 1984 Platte County Steam and Gas Show in Tracy, Missouri.
Q: What attracted you to the hobby?
A: I’m attracted to the challenge of getting 100-plus iron running.
Q: Who else in your family collects engines?
A: My whole family has collected engines since the early 1970s. My Grandfather is the late Calvin Brookover and my uncle is the late Ted Brookover. My Grandfather, Donald Swanstone, and Dad, Donald Swanstone Jr., still collect and show a little bit.
Q: How many engines do you have in your collection? Any rare or unusual ones?
A: Our collection consists of a variety of engines: Rawleigh-Schryer, Stover, Waterloo, American Boy, Weil Bros, Emerson-Brantingham, Ellis, Galloway, Challenge, Economy, S.S.S., Gray, Little Jumbo, Sandwich, Ideal, Famous and Mogul – just to name a few.
Q: What is your favorite in your collection?
A: My favorite engine is my 2-1/2 HP Rawleigh-Schryer. It was given to our family by a close family friend. The deal was that it was taken and shown, not put in a shed and left for years to pass. It’s got welds and repairs and isn’t perfect, but it has personality.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: I am currently finishing up on a 1911 Stover K with a butter churn pulley. And I plan on starting on a 4 HP hourglass Challenge and a 4 HP Waterloo Boy.
Q: Which shows do you normally attend each year? What show haven’t you been to yet that you’d like to see one day?
A: We always try to attend the Lathrop, Missouri, show in June, and then pick and choose a show here or there to attend. Just went back to the Montgomery City, Missouri, show in 2014 and had a great time. They really treated us great.
I really want to attend a Rawleigh feature show in Freeport, Illinois. I had to miss it in 2014. I have never been to Portland, Coolsprings, or Baraboo. Those three are on my list of “must” shows.
Q: What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve come across in the hobby?
A: Engine prices are a big obstacle to overcome. Some engines just aren’t worth the asking price even if you want them.
Q: If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine to own?
A: I would own a 22 HP Rawleigh-Schryer. I’ve only seen it advertised, and at 4,470 pounds with a 26-by-8-inch pulley, it would be an awesome show piece. Or an Industrial Iron Works, one that hasn’t seen light in several decades.
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 us at (800) 682-4704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.