What Got You Started?

| April/May 2002

  • Smokstak

  • Smokstak

A recent topic on SmokStak, which can be found at, concerned how people got started in the engine hobby.

I got this idea while I was shoveling snow and I said to myself, 'I wonder what got you guys started in engine collecting?' I guess I could tell you my story about how I got started (I'm only 13 years old).

Ever since I can remember, I've been interested in old farm equipment. My grandpa used to take me to tractor shows when I was old enough to walk. My first engine was a Maytag, then some model steam engines and now hit-and-miss engines. I collect a lot of other things, like blowtorches, barn and railroad lanterns. So what's your story? Chase

I've been fascinated by these engines ever since I was a kid, but never had a chance to get one. Two years ago I took a new job and a group of guys there were in this hobby. A good friend of mine gave me a 1 HP Sattley that was a basket-case. I made some parts, ordered some parts, put it together and cranked until I almost broke my arm. Ordered a manual, set the timing etc., and got the first POP! I was hooked! Two years later and I now have nine engines. The Sattley is painted, decaled and will probably always be my favorite. I enjoy going to shows and having a blast being around great people. - Vern

For me, it all started when I was very young. We would go to the local farmers fair and there were these very interesting engines that ran on water (hey, cut me a break, I was young and that's all you saw, the water in the hopper). These engines fascinated me and I thought how neat it would be to have one. As time went on I kind of forgot about it.

I ended up becoming friends with an old farmer who had an interest in older John Deere tractors, which in turn interested me. I told a friend at work that I was looking for older tractors and to keep an eye out for me.