The Next Generation

Young Enthusiast Develops Love for Old Iron

| November/December 2002

Old Iron

Lincoln Tucker's MacLeod as found at this year's Portland show.

The 2002 Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Show in Portland, Ind., has come and gone, but the memories of this year's show will stay bright for a long time because of my son, Lincoln, and his quest for his first flywheel engine.

I have been involved with stationary engines for the last six years or so, and Lincoln, who is 9 years old, has also developed quite a love of old iron. He has spent many an hour with me grinding off rust or scraping away grease. A few years ago at Christmas his grandfather, a committed 'rustaholic,' gave him a 1954 Briggs & Stratton 5S that was in need of a lot of TLC. Lincoln took it apart, cleaned it up, put it back together and got it running again. From that point on, he was hooked!

Lincoln didn't go with me to the 2000 Portland show, but he decided he needed a Maytag and sent me some of his allowance money to buy one. A lot of work (and a lot of learning on his part) resulted in a nicely restored 1929 Maytag 92. With the help of his grandfather we built a nice four-wheeled cart for each engine so they would 'look cool.'

Ever since he finished his Maytag, he has wanted to get his own hit-and-miss stationary engine. I told him that he needed to be able to start my 1 -3/4 HP Economy S by himself before he could get one, and much to his pleasure he succeeded in doing just that earlier this year. From that point on his plan was to buy an engine at this year's Portland show. Lincoln, it should be known, is 'squeaky tight' with his money, and he has saved pretty much every penny of allowance, Christmas and birthday money he has ever received. That diligence resulted in a nice stockpile of money that was enough to finance his quest for a new engine. So he went up to Portland this year with one goal in mind - to buy an engine!

Early on our first full day, with his money burning a hole in his pocket, we were out in the vendor area in search of the perfect engine - I'm pretty sure he looked at just about every engine out there. Finally, late in the afternoon we ran across a 1-3/4 HP Nelson Bros. TA4 that was badged as 'The MacLeod Engine' from MacLeod's Farm Supplies, Winnipeg-Saskatoon. The good news was the size was right, it was a hit-and-miss, it was complete, had a lot of original paint and pin striping, and the price was within reach. The bad news was it had zero compression, worn governor and cam gears and the Wiko EK looked like it had seen better days. Lincoln decided this was the engine he wanted, but I convinced him he should think about it awhile.

The next morning we were out looking at the engine again, and I told him we should make a deal with the seller and buy the engine. A final price was agreed upon, and from that point on the seller couldn't have handled the deal any better than he did. He had Lincoln count out the money into his hand, asked him how much change he needed back, and then said, 'Now, you are buying this with your own money, right?' To which Lincoln replied, 'yes.' He then handed Lincoln a $20 bill back and said, 'Here, this is for the restoration.' Needless to say, Lincoln was on cloud nine!