| July/August 1976

  • Housey marine engine
    Courtesy of K. Blair, R.R. 1, Picton, Ontario, Canada KOK 2TO.
    K. Blair

  • Housey marine engine

R. D. I, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania 17019

Several years ago, while reading a story of the Metz Automobile in an issue of the 'Antique Car Magazine', the following story was recalled to my memory. Many details have been forgotten, but the lump on my wrist, caused by the crank of my old Metz when it kicked backward while starting, will never be forgotten.

My first encounter with a Metz came about when my family moved into York County, Pa., and, of course, yours truly had to go to a new school at the age of thirteen. All schools in the country at that time were the one-room pot bellied stove type and a school room visitor was something special. All school districts were subject to the yearly visit by some local photographer with the magic birdie box mounted on a tripod. This usually meant three visits-first, to take the posed picture; second to show samples and take orders; and third to deliver the pictures and collect the usual twenty-five cents. All three visits meant no classes for several hours while the pupils did about as they pleased.

Now at the new school the photographer was a rather small, frail looking man driving a car that fit the same description - a Metz roadster. It was soon discovered by the older boys that by holding on to the back end and maybe with several well placed bricks, the driver had some difficulty in getting the car in motion. This resulted in one of two things happening, either the engine stalled necessitating recanting or a cloud of foul smelling smoke from the friction drive.

One of the jokes back-fired as I remember it; the teacher appeared on the porch during the critical time, took one look at the photographer's predicament, then disappeared to ring the bell for classes to convene. This was a simple case of being saved by the bell.

This man was also employed as a substitute rural mail carrier and would use the Metz when weather and roads were favorable. But here again both the driver and car were the butt end of many jokes because it was said that when the car was caught in a sudden thunder shower the mail was always late as the mail then had to depend on some nearby farmer's horsepower to get it going or even pull the Metz home.