A Brief Word

| November/December 1992

As this column goes to press in late August, ye olde Reflector has just returned from the Great Fuller & Johnson Reunion at Baraboo, Wisconsin. And what a reunion it was! There were over 160 Fuller & Johnson engines present-probably more than ever assembled since the company was manufacturing engines at nearby Madison. All of the folks at the Baraboo show were very hospitable, but in particular the Kindschis, Verne and Pearlie, were a true delight. In addition, we had a chance to visit with a great many longtime friends, including Dick Hamp, Preston Foster, and many others. GEM's own Gail Knauer was on hand, representing Gas Engine Magazine, as was Don Knowles, the publisher of Engineers & Engines. Bonnie Householder, the well known artist from Milwaukee, was there, as were Jerry Swedborg and Elaine Everson. To all of those we've named, plus hundreds more we met at the Fuller & Johnson Reunion, our thanks for a most enjoyable visit! Gail Knauer, Don Knowles, and myself enjoyed some pleasant times visiting together . . . regardless of whether GEM and E & E are technically competing with each other, let one and all be fully assured that we do compete, but as very good friends! So again, our thanks for myself, Gail Knauer, and all the folks here at GEM!

Lord willing, we plan to be on hand for the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, and of course, by the time this issue is in your hands, it too will be history for another year. At the risk of jumping the gun a bit, it's always a great pleasure to visit with you folks at the Old Threshers Reunion.

Rarely do we go to a show at which some new make of engine doesn't appear, either physically, or in a group of photos someone brings along. Isn't it ironic that when we started writing about gas engines some quarter century back that many people, myself included, thought we'd probably run out of material within ten years or less.

As the keynote speaker at the Fuller & Johnson Reunion, we attempted to share some thoughts about our hobby. Probably the question we get more frequently than any other is, 'How do you have the patience to answer those same questions over and over about the proper color for an International, and the like?' Essentially, our answer is that the person writing that letter might be a new collector, whether age 13 or age 63. That new collector knows as much right now as we did when we began the hobby. For us to not answer the question, or to deliver a sarcastic response, would be to turn that collector off forever, and we don't believe that's the way to perpetuate our hobby.

We also firmly believe that it behooves us to be courteous and kind to beginning collectors. That young lad asking about an engine, or perhaps with his first engine, has a great amount of enthusiasm. If we help nurture that enthusiasm, perhaps that young lad might continue in our hobby and help the next generation of collectors. Folks, if we don't encourage the young folks to take hold of our hobby, it will lose its lustre by the next generation.

Ye Olde Reflector is of the opinion that ours is one of the most interesting hobbies alive today, not only from the pure joy of the engines, but also from the historical aspects. There are few things in the history of the world that have had such a profound effect on our life and culture as the development of the internal combustion engine. Without it, we would still be riding a buggy to town, or perhaps making the trip with some steam-powered outfit. After all, without the development of the engine to begin with, there simply wouldn't be any tractors, trucks, or cars . . . they all came after the fact. So, we urge you to look after the new collectors . . . someday, some of them will probably own the engines we cherish so much today.


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