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A Tribute to a Friend

| March/April 1998

8272 County Road 96 Hammondsport, New York 14840-9539

It was the Canandaigua, New York Steam Pageant of 1993. I was a very new member of this elite hobby of engine and iron collecting. I was having some problems with my (first and new to me) engine. A fellow had his trailer display of old shop equipment being powered by an old gas engine which was set up by the steam boiler and engine shed, I think his name was Mike. Mike came over to my set-up and asked me if I was having some problems. I said yes, and just that fast he was bent over and helping me on my engine. He gave me some very good pointers that have served me well ever since.

Shortly after this incident, another gentleman by the name of Fred Walsh from Crown Point, New York, appearing to be in his late sixties, stopped to talk to me. He said, 'I noticed that you have four inch cotton belting and I wondered if you might have extra.' I said, yes, I did have extra. He wanted to buy some from me. I explained that I could not sell it to him as I had acquired it as used belting from work and I had spliced it together to make usable belts. I told him he was welcome to take a belt for no charge as this is what I had paid for them. He took a belt and thanked me. We had a nice discussion on my new engine, a 1 HP Economy by Hercules. He told me he had read several articles on these in a magazine called GEM. One afternoon on returning to my camper from a tour of the grounds, I found a copy of GEM. It had a current article on Economy by Hercules, and it turned out, Fred had left it for me. As always happens, the show season ended and I settled in for a winter of rebuilding another engine I had acquired. One afternoon I went to the mailbox and there was another copy of GEM, which Fred had sent to me with another article he thought I would find interesting. The following year, as I sat by my display one afternoon, along came Fred. He sat with me and visited for a couple of hours. We managed to strike up a friendship.

In our discussions it was mentioned that I had started collecting Majestic engines and was striving to collect all of the models that were made. Fred mentioned that he had a 3 HP and he agreed that if he were to sell it, he would give me first option to buy it, and a couple of years later, I received a letter from him doing just that. After contacting him we discussed and agreed on a price. As it turned out, when I went to pick up the engine in Crown Point, he also had an old Goulds Pyramid double acting style water pump that he wanted to give me. This pump was used in 1920 to pump water to a group of cottages at Lake George, New York. He had been given this pump by a friend and, as it turned out, he felt it was too heavy for him to carry around to shows (about 200 lbs). He asked the friend who had given it to him and he was in agreement to have Fred give it to me to restore and show. Fred also had a very interesting old burr mill. The only identification on the mill is a No. 1 cast into the burr cover. He asked me if I knew of anyone who would be interested in this and I said yes, so I bought it and brought that home, also.

A couple of months ago I received some correspondence from Fred and he gave me some information on a fellow that he ran into who knew where there was a 7 HP Majestic that I might buy. However, the price turned out to be way too much, so I had to pass on this engine, but the point is, Fred has remembered me and my quest to assemble the complete collection of Majesties. It is amazing to me that this friendship all started over a four inch belt! Thank you Fred, it is a true pleasure being associated with you and being your friend.

In the 50 odd years of my life, I have never been associated with a group of fell as that I so admire and trust as engine collectors. I am still amazed when I attend the Canandaigua show and I walk around observing everything, and the scents waft through the air of the refreshment stands with hamburgers and French fries cooking, and the coal smell from the steamers, the gasoline and oil smell of engines. This has got to be the only place on earth where mature men regress back to the carefree days of boyhood.


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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