CONSOLIDATED Returns To Work


| January/February 2001



American Gas Engine

Engine in condition as found at my shop in March 1998.

160 Malabar Drive Westbrook, Connecticut 06498

This is a story about old Consolidated and how I caught him out of work and depressed and how he was rehired to go to work for me. I am younger than some of you and older than others; how ever that doesn't change my love for old iron. When I was only five I remember my folks taking me to see the steam trains in Essex and the rest is a story familiar to many of us. I saw my first hit and miss show when I was about ten, and got a small Stover CT-2 basket case at thirteen. I restored it and went to many events, but soon I graduated and went into submarines in the Navy. I had little time for hobbies and sold the Stover.

I did my time proudly and got out and went to work in various mechanical capacities, always having in the back of my mind that I would someday get another engine.

I have a good friend, John Nedobity, who has a little one-man scrap operation in Killingworth, and one Friday night about two years ago, we were sitting around John's stove, drinking his homemade cider (smooth as wine but tough as nails!) as was often the case on a cold wintry Friday. I had been asking him if he knew of any engines, and he finally said that there was someone local who had one. He mentioned that I should jump on it, and I, after considering another sip, suggested that we take a look as soon as possible. A meeting was then arranged between me and Billy Vokel who, as it turned out, I knew from a few years back. We took my Buick up a path fit for nothing less than four-wheel drive, to Billy's farm in Killingworth, and braved old Ma Vokel's shotgun warning not to let my dog chase her cats, and met Billy.

Billy's farm and John's place are the last remnants of a dying era in New England that is becoming more scarce with the influx of people who think they can run everyone without a picture perfect yard out of town. I think a lot of you know what I mean, but that is another story itself. Anyway, Billy's farm is covered with old iron treasures, tractors, Model A's, balers, and of course a few engines. I said to Billy, 'So, let's take a look at this engine.'

I was afraid to answer. I thought, 'I waited for this thing?' It was only about horse, and the timing gears and cylinder were just about rotted off. What a disappointment. I said, 'Well, I don't think that's anything I'd want. You have anything else?'