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Young Iron: Jonathan Triebner

Gas engine collector Jonathan Triebner is not new to the hobby: it’s a family tradition!

| April/May 2014

  • Gas engine collector Jonathan Triebner, age 33, Exeter, Ontario.
    Photo courtesy Jonathan Triebner

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: Engines have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. I probably started buying and selling engines myself in my mid- to late-20s. I remember getting left behind (I had school) when Dad went to get his single-valve Simplex in West Virginia and thinking that wasn’t right. I was in grade 4.

Q: What attracted you to the hobby?
A: The bug bit me pretty young. Mom has pictures of me when I was 2 or 3 covered in grease from whatever new project Dad brought home. Anything I saw when I was younger was great but now my taste has narrowed down to preferring tank-cooled & original paint. Last spring we attended the Nuenen Rally in Holland for their slide-valve expo and I’m pretty sure I wandered around the whole time with my mouth open because of all the stuff I’d never even heard of before.

Q: Who else in your family  collects engines?
A: Grandpa and Dad started collecting in the 1970s. Grandpa developed quite a collection on his own, including an Abenaque, a 6-inch Rider and a 6-inch Ericsson as well as a Happy Farmer tractor. My uncle Gary collected as well before he passed away. We’ve still got his 6 HP John Deere.

Q: What engines do you have in your collection?
A: I’ve been ridiculously fortunate to have a father who shares a hobby with me, and one who had a pretty impressive collection before I knew what one was. I’ve only ever branched out a few times to purchase my own engines, which include 8-cycle Aermotors, a vertical-governed Canadian Monarch and a very early Massey-Harris Type 1. We probably have about 85 engines, about half are running or close to it and a few basket cases.

Q: What is your favorite engine in your collection?
A: The first engine ever given to me (for Christmas one year) was Grandpa’s first engine: a 1-1/2 HP Goold, Shapley & Muir vertical. It’s the one that “started it all” for our family.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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