Our Friend Don Bellach

Thanks to a Friend Who Has Made a Difference


| November/December 2001



Don Bellach

Many times, when a loved one or a friend dies, we mourn their passing and wish we had had one more chance to say 'I love you.' I would like to take that opportunity now to tell my friend, Don Bellach, what he means to me and my family, before it is too late.

It all started about a year ago. Well, actually it started back longer than that. I had wanted a flywheel engine for a long, long time. Seeing as how I grew up with such things on the farm, and my wife and I collected antique 'just about anything,' a flywheel engine was just right to fit the bill. We traveled a lot and even made it to a couple of engine shows, the Florida Flywheelers at Avon Park being one of them.

A true friend, Don Bellach represents what ultimately draws many of us to the old iron hobby.

It didn't take long to get the wife's approval, and one day we brought home our first flywheel engine, an 1HC LB 1 to 2 HP. It was in pretty good shape and didn't need much work at all. However, as we all know, this wouldn't be the last. Next was a McCormick-Deering 3 HP, then a Monitor with a pump jack, both 'barn fresh.'

It was during the restoration of the Monitor that I was looking for a couple of valves. The local mechanics shop was unable to help me, but referred me to a man they knew who collected small engines, too. That man was Don Bellach, and it turns out Don lived only about a mile from my house and had lived in the neighborhood five years, about as long as I had.

A knock on his front door took him away from his TV and got him out of his chair. I introduced myself and explained my predicament. And then we started talking. Following Don through his garage to his workshop that first time, I began to realize the scope of a true collector.