How Your Hobby Started Part X

| September/October 1970

3904 47th Ave. S., Seattle, Washington 98118

For those of us who recollect sitting around the old hard coal base burner thumbing thru the mail order catalogs on cold winter days, the pictures of steam and gasoline engines appeared on the pages of these famous utilitarian catalogs about the beginning of 1900. To the city lad, possibly the introduction of the gasoline engine did not cause much emotion, but for the men and boys on the farm it was an announcement with as much excitement as any of the present day magazines carrying the first pictures of some fine new sports car.

The catalog with the wide acclaim and broad distribution first carried the offering of the 'Kenwood' three horsepower gasoline engine in the Fall issue of Sears, Roebuck Catalog in 1902. This catalog page stated $98.50 buys the High Grade Full 3 horsepower Gasoline Engine, complete as described below, ready to operate, mounted on skids, crated and delivered free aboard cars at Chicago.'

The sales pitch further stated that -'The engine was a model of perfection and completeness. It is built on practical lines, combining simplicity, durability and compactness and developing the full amount of power we claim for it.'

Salesmanship was just as appealing in those days and possibly a little more emotional than today. They continued by saying 'This engine is made especially for us by engine makers who have been in the gasoline engine business for several years, consequently it is not an experiment but an up to dale engine, containing every improvement which years of practical experience suggests. It is not a lightweight plaything weighing only a few hundred pounds, but is a good substantial engine weighing 1,000 pounds and is suitable for running any kind of machinery which requires three horse or less. The base is a heavy east iron box weighing 250 pounds, is 4 feet long, 16 inches wide, 12 inches deep, divided and strengthened by partitions. In one end of this base is a compartment in which a 5 gallon galvanized steel gasoline tank is placed; the balance of the base serves as a water tank and holds 35 gallons. The base is covered with a heavy oak top, upon which the engine sets and is securely bolted to the iron base.'

Just inside the old country church vestibule on the sanctuary wall is Spark Plug Woody Turner's excellently-catalogued engine parts department. The bins are numbered for valves, rocker arms, compressions springs, carburetors, points and what-not. Woody might use the scales to the left to 'weigh' the parts. He didn't say what he gets out of that ancient well pump to the far right.