Collector Allan Riley

| February/March 1988

  • Allan Riley Collection
    Collector Allan Riley and his son Don display some of Allan's models.

  • Allan Riley Collection

21224 Placerita Canyon Road Newhall, CA 91321

Allan Riley is the senior member of our Western Antique Power Associates Engine Club at Alhambra, California. He turned age 102, and counting, last July 14. He was born close by Jackson Junction near Fort Atkinson, Iowa, in 1885.

By 1903, he worked for the Hart-Parr tractor company going out to farms to instruct in the usage and repair of tractors. He could have roamed the world servicing Hart-Parrs, but chose to join his sisters in California by 1905. There he worked breaking horses on a ranch in Red-lands until he started to U.S.C. and lived in the oldest building still standing on that campus. He still has some papers he prepared for a mechanical drawing class. They are marked 'Very good.'

The adventure of marriage to Beulah Donnell in 1910 included fathering four daughters and two sons. By 1913 he was teaching wood turning, mechanical drawing, machine shop and pattern-making at Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California. He migrated to San Diego in 1919 to run the Moon car agency but, in 1923, went north to Modesto to become principal of the part-time high school while teaching automobile mechanics and mechanical drawing until the part-time high school became a budget casualty of the Depression.

The Depression meant a move to Fontana and supporting a wife and six children on a variety of 'whatever' jobs, until he went to work for Lockheed Aircraft Company as a machinist in 1941. He later became a liaison tooling inspector. When the union and Lockheed decided in 1956 that all employees must retire at age 65, Allan had to retire-at age 73.

Since 1971 he has lived with his son and daughter-in-law in Newhall, California. At age 95 he bought castings for a popcorn wagon-sized steam engine and finished it, complete with working fly-ball governor, in his son's garage.


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