Encouraging the Next Generation of Young Collectors

By Staff

Every issue, we feature a collector younger than 35 in our “Young Iron” department. I’m always amazed by how enthusiastic and informed these young collectors are. And their numbers seem to be growing: Not a month goes by when I don’t hear from an excited young collector eager to show their stuff in the magazine. (Some months are even more exciting, like last month when I heard from four young collectors.)

Check out our latest Young Iron to see this issue’s young enthusiast, 16-year-old Tyler Harman of Taneytown, Md. Tyler’s antique engine collection is already eight strong, and includes engines in all sorts of sizes from various manufacturers.

Tyler has a leg-up on most collectors, as passion for old iron runs strong in his family. He went to his first engine show at two weeks old and graced the cover of GEM at the age of 3 back in May 2000. Now he spends most of his weekends roaming the grounds of various shows in the Maryland and Pennsylvania area.

This issue, Joe Maurer looks at 7-year-old Molly Hackbarth and her Stover Type KA running a Stover feed grinder. (See Stover Engines and Young Folks.) Molly and her cousins love feeding corn into the grinder and watching the Stover work.

These kids are very lucky to have encouragement from their parents and grandparents. Tyler’s grandfather Sam Harman is the catalyst for Tyler’s passion. Mr. Harman’s antique engine collection serves as inspiration, and it gives Tyler a collection to aspire to. Molly’s father, Paul, restored her engine from bits and pieces before passing it on to her. I can only imagine there are years of co-restoration projects ahead for the father-daughter duo.

Now we come back to you. Are there any young folks in your life you can share your passion with? Think beyond your children and grandchildren. What about neighbors, kids from church or other youth in your community? If you have a grandkid who loves your engines, encourage them to invite friends to shows or to help with restoration projects.

If you organize a show, how about setting up a special area for kids? Be sure to have knowledgeable people on hand to explain how the engines work in simple terms. Have the engines running pumps, grinders or small machines. And be sure to make the engines accessible (while emphasizing safety, of course); there is nothing like hands-on experience to get kids interested and excited.

Not only will you be helping the entire old iron community by bringing in some energetic collectors, but I’m guessing the look of joy on a new enthusiast’s face will make you smile, too.

Beth Beavers
Associate Editor

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