How Your Hobby Started PART XVI

| September/October 1971

390447th Avenue, S., Seattle, Washington 98118

The sad news of the demise of Rev. Elmer L. Ritzman, comes to me in a letter from Anna Mae, as I was starting to write this installment. Living as we did, on opposite shores of our country, I never had the pleasure of knowing the editor of The Gas Engine Magazine personally. From the beginning when he said--'Well we made it'--you feel the sort of emotion you would enjoy when a friend comes for a visit. And you gasoline engine collectors will agree I am sure, when a new issue of G.E.M. arrives at your home, it is like a visit of a friend of your hobby bringing more good information regarding the pleasure you enjoy together with a lot of interesting reading.

Having succeeded in his chosen lite-time work, Elmer undoubtedly had a very deep desire to broaden the scope of his hobby for early steam farm power by including the small gasoline engine that took care of every day chores when the fires were out and boilers cold on the big threshing engines.

His intentions have been well publicized. The engineering details of so many makes of gasoline engines have come to light in the columns of his magazine, making it possible to write a history of a topic few other writers have accomplished. Much has been written and many books published about the automobile, but had it not been for the inventors who created the first internal combustion engines, we still would be riding bicycles and getting much exercise in walking.

Aside from all the complicated detail of the engineering of our subject, your editor brought a more fundamental principle to the front in both his steam and gasoline engine magazines. This is the close friendly feeling of good honest people getting together to enjoy their hobby at reunions . . . Helping one another with the dissemination of knowledge concerning this or that tractor or finding a missing part for an old rusty gasoline engine that their friend is restoring and adding to the historical collection of more antique makes of engines.

Many of our customs are changing. Some are passing out of existence for lack of interest, but here in this hobby the interest in these antiques parallels the popular enthusiasm found today in the pursuit of collecting most anything collectable. 'Gas-Ups'--Reunions--Gas Engine Meetings--Old-time Equipment Shows and Museums are spreading all across our country and the 'putt-putts' are heard more and more.


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