Wives' Part in A Man's Hobby


| April/May 2000



Vacuum engine

William Rogers' Taylor Vacuum engine, 1928 type C, #15091 bought in 1983.

6637 Pendleton Avenue NW Roanoke, Virginia 24019

I have been a dedicated fan of GEM from the very first time it was introduced to me over twenty years ago. When the new monthly copy arrives everything goes on hold until I have read it from beginning to end. The stories, the ads, the classifieds, I devour the whole bit.

Over the years, I have discovered the stories and articles month by month primarily fall into about four or five categories: The prize find and getting it home; the step by step restorations; the participation in shows; and the technical and historic articles. All are quite interesting and enjoyable. The technical information, from time to time, is very helpful in many restoration projects and most appreciated in the special problems one encounters every now and then.

Only on very rare occasions do I ever hear about the wives. Where are they when all of this collecting and restoration is going on? Occasionally a story will include the wife, but generally the wives are given little mention or credit. Where are the stories and articles by women collectors? I believe they are about as scarce as the proverbial 'hen's teeth.'

I know in the early manufacturing days of the engines and tractors being collected and restored today, the women of that time were supposed to cook, keep house, quilt in the winter time, and raise a garden and prepare the family's winter food supply in the summer. In the fall, they made a kettle of apple butter, filled a ten-gallon stone jar with cabbage for sauerkraut and another with pickled beans. However now we are generations down the road. Women nowadays climb utility poles and fight in our wars. They work in the factories and help build our tractors and engines for our automobiles. Come on! There surely have to be some wives out there with their own collections and restoration stories.

Two separate occasions in recent months prompted me to write this article. Both involved women. The basics are factual; however, facts sometimes are a bit more interesting if a little fiction is injected here and there.