A Boy and his Baker

A Boy's First Gas Engine makes for a Good Father/Son Project


| December 2005



12-05-016-Melting.jpg

Devin melting the old babbitt out with an acetylene torch.

In 2003 was our son Devin's first trip to the fall Portland, Ind., show. As you can imagine, any 10-year-old would have been excited to miss school to attend this show. Prior to the trip, he decided it was time to pick out his first engine - and finding "his" engine in the swap area was high on his agenda. Once we finally arrived and set up in the Stationary Engine List area, it was time to see all the treasures in the swap area. My wife, Missy, and I had a little chat with him beforehand and explained the size of the sale area, the amount of items there, the variety and the importance of seeing everything before making his choice.

We were about halfway through the area and Devin had gotten a little ahead of us. Next thing we knew, Devin was running back to us all excited saying he's found his engine and we have to go buy it now! I tried to calm him, saying we needed to go check it out thoroughly before making a decision. Devin promptly replied that he had already done this and that the engine turned freely, had compression and there were no cracks in the hopper. My goodness, he had been listening!

We arrived at Nebraska engine dealer Larry Lucke's trailer and the engine was exactly as Devin had described it. He had picked out a little 1932 Baker Monitor upright, a 1-1/4 HP pump jack engine.

After paying for the engine, and with some help from my friend Dallas Cox and his golf cart, we had the engine back to the SEL area.

Collectively, the SEL crew worked on the engine for a couple of hours and voila! The little engine ran! She was pretty worn out from years of farm work, but she was running and this made Devin so proud.

It was our intent to restore the engine and have it ready for the 2004 Portland show, but other priorities, combined with the amount of work that ultimately had to be done to the engine, forced us to aim for the 2005 show.