PROFILE

Verne M. Kindschi


| July/August 1985



1 HP hopper cooled vertical Engine

Another rare Fuller & Johnson in the collection is this 1 HP hopper cooled vertical, the majority of F & J's in preservation are horizontal configuration. This one was shipped to its first owner on June 28, 1907.

Verne's grain truck is always seen at the local show, he says. .. 'Everyone asks me for bits and pieces so I just load in everything I can think of, so if anyone wants anything I tell them just to go and get it. I take spare oil, batteries, coils, oilers, fuel, tools, everything!'

The following article is reprinted with permission from the March 1985 issue of Stationary Engine, an English publication which each month profiles an individual collector.

Twenty five years ago hardly anyone showed enthusiasm for disused, rusty old stationary engines, so when Verne Kindschi began collecting and restoring engines he did it behind closed doors in case the neighbours thought he was crazy! Nobody else, as far as he knew, collected old engines, it surely was the strangest of hobbies. A quarter of a century later Verne has 85 to 90 engines (he hasn't bothered to count them) and a further two hundred or so have passed through his hands in exchange dealshe prefers to swop rather than buy.

But what actually inspired Verne to buy his first engine? It all began when his father bought a farm. Across the road was a small farm owned by 'an old maid who still milked by hand', and as she farmed alone she was unable to manage all the work. A deal was struck in which Verne's father worked her corn and oats etc. on a 50/50 share. However she wanted all the hay for herself, and it was one day when Verne and his father were bailing this hay that engine number one was found. It was a hot day and the working pair wanderer into the shade of a barn to eat their lunch. In the barn sat an International 1 'M' type which had long retired from its duties. It reminded Verne of a similar engine which, when he was only 5 or 6 years of age some twenty years previous, he was given the job of filling the reservoir of the carburetor every five minutes while his father busied himself putting oats in the granary.

It should be pointed out that the biggest trouble experienced with the International 'M' type was premature corrosion of the fuel pump casting. So seeing the 1 'M' type in the barn all those years later prompted Verne to ask this father if it was the same engine as used on their own farm when he was a lad. Apparently it wasn't, they had used a 3 HP 'M' type, but even so it was enough to persuade Verne to try to acquire the engine, for reasons unknown at the time, he just wanted it.

The old maid who owned the farm wasn't so slow, she wanted 25 dollars for the engine which was far too much for those days. But Verne was undetterred, he paid the money, took the enigne home where it stayed untouched for over two years. Finally he stripped and rebuilt the engine, painted it and ran it a few times, and then...'What do you do when you've finished and engine, you look around and buy yourself another.'