Jackpot at Keno

| May/June 2001

Box 469, Dawson City, Yukon, Canada Y0B 1G0

Let me start by giving you a little background history as to my affliction for machinery and old iron. I was born in 1951 and was raised by my grandparents on a small farm in Nicomen Island near Mission City, British Columbia, Canada. My grandpa had been using a good horse named Jennie for all the work on the farm. One day, I knew there was something up as we (Grandpa and me) were getting ready to go to town and it wasn't even Sunday. We arrived at the John Deere dealership in Mission City.

There sat Grandpa's brand new shiny John Deere tractor. It was huge and beautiful. The salesman gave me a tractor just like Grandpa's, only smaller. I even got a plow and cultivator with it. Now I could really help Grandma in her vegetable and flower garden. I have loved new and old machinery ever since. Now to track down Grandpa's John Deere, or my John Deere, is on the top of the list of 'things to do.'

Since 1978, I have been placer mining in the Klondike Gold Fields, near Dawson City, Yukon. I have a small operation, work mostly alone and manage to get by. Placer mining is so much like farming. We have a very short operating season, about one hundred days, from thaw until freeze up. I am at the mercy of Mother Nature and the ever-fluctuating gold price. In the beginning of July 2000, I was visiting Winston Lajambe, who runs Woodwards Machine Shop in Dawson City, to get a part machined for my mine. Winston had recently returned from a visit to Keno City and was showing me some pictures he had taken, digital and on his computer. Hold it! Go back! A Mietz and Weiss hot bulb oil engine!

I have an 18 HP and need one more critical part, the injector. This one on the computer was smaller than mine, a 4 HP, and it appeared that the injector was missing also. I got a printout of it anyway and took it home. A few days later I was looking at it more closely and, yahoo!, the injector had been unscrewed from the cylinder and bent over to one side, still attached to the fuel line. The next day, my friend Jessica and I were off to Keno City, about 150 miles from Dawson City. Mike Mancini, at the Keno City Mining Museum, met us and showed us the 4 HP Mietz & Weiss. There was more than one Mietz & Weiss there. There was a 12 HP and an 18 HP, both missing the part I needed. We drew up a borrow/lending contract and took the 4 HP injector back to Dawson City. Winston is making me a larger version of the 4 HP injector to fit my 18 HP. I like Winston's attitude, 'If it's been made before, it can be made again.'

I want to thank the following people who have helped to get my 18 HP Mietz & Weiss closer to a 'start up party.' Mike Mancini and crew at the Keno Mining Museum; Mike McArthur and Don Monroe for their invaluable information and operating/parts lists for my Mietz & Weiss; and Winston Lajambe for his machining expertise. I should add that Jessica and I stayed in Keno for a few days. Keno City and surrounding area is beautiful. Full of history, old iron, and great people. We loved it. Mike Mancini also makes the best pizzas and grub, anywhere, at his Keno City Snack Bar!