A Brief Word

| August/September 1991

What a wonderful time of year! This writer is a native Iowan, but Iowa's cold winter weather has never been one of our favorite aspects. First of all, we personally don't care much for cold weather. Secondly, when we get those twenty below readings, even the modern engines don't care to start with ease. Even worse, our old vintage engines don't take to cold weather at all, unless of course they are in a heated building. During the summer months, any engine worth its salt will start with ease. For most of us, it's very enjoyable to crank up an engine and let it run for a few minutes, almost every day.

Another nice thing about the summer months is the many, many shows and swap meets all over the country. We've gone to three or four of them this year so far, and hope to catch some more. Our annual journey to the Annual Swap Meet at Waukee, Iowa was certainly no disappointment. We spent several days there, and met many, many folks from the United States, Canada, and England. One of the British collectors showed us his photos of a tremendous tractor collection. A man from California showed us a series of photos taken during the recovery of a Regan engine from an abandoned gold mine. It took several men three days to walk in to the engine, assemble a raft made of 2 x 4's and plastic buckets, and actually float the engine downstream to a roadway. In fact, we hope to provide further details on this project if we can get these folks to send us the story!

We've also been hearing some distressing reports from some of our readers. Several people have alleged that products and/or parts they have ordered have not been satisfactory. We know that both extremes are always , present, namely, the out-and-out charlatans on one hand, and the chronic complainers on the other hand. For these outside extremes, there is probably no rehabilitative help available. The charlatans are going to ply their trade regardless of anything. The chronic complainers are going to bellyache even if they are shipped an ordinary cast iron part that is specially made for them from sterling silver. Surely, neither of the above groups are to be found within our hobby! On the part of those ordering from a vendor, be sure you are get ting what you think you are getting. If it is a considerable cash outlay, perhaps it would be wise to go see what you are buying before you buy. Always remember the ancient saying, 'Let the Buyer Beware!' So, if you're going to buy, do so with a bit of caution. If you're going to sell, be sure to give your customer full measure. Let's not permit our hobby turn into a mini-S&L scandal. 'Nuff said!

Last month we had the largest column ever, but this month it's pretty small. This is a usual happening . . . it's hard to write about engines and tractors when we're busy working on them. So, we begin with:

26/8/1 Sickle Grinder Q. See the two photos of a McCormick-Deering hand operated grinder. You show a photograph of a similar machine in your book, 150 Years of International Harvester. Can you provide further information? Nigel Robson, 221 Tudor Ave., Hastings, New Zealand.

A.These are sickle grinders, built specifically to sharpen the cutting knives on mowers and grain binders. The complete sickle is clamped into the grinder, and is moved laterally to grind adjacent cutting surfaces. That is why the stone is v-shaped. Special gearing and linkage oscillates the stone in and out to automatically grind the entire cutting surface of each knife. These units appear occasionally, but are not considered to be very plentiful, as most were junked long ago. Deering Harvester Co. built these units already in the 1890s, and they were probably available into the 1920s. Most American farmers preferred taking the sickles to the local blacksmith rather than try to use this little machine.