A Silver King Associated Rides Again!

| October/November 1996

26 Mott Place Rockaway Boro, New Jersey 07866

I am vice-president of The North Jersey Antique Engine and Machinery Club, based in Sussex County, in Northern New Jersey. We have members from all over the state, and indeed some out of state as well. Our club's purpose is to educate the public in how the old engines and machinery, we demonstrate, operated and made life easier on the farmer, improving the quality of life for all the people in the future generations. Our club has been up and running since 1980.

In October of 1987, I was contacted by a gentleman named Bob Fossetta, who expressed an interest in joining the club. He wanted to tap our knowledge of and information on engine repairs and operations for some equipment he had on his job. As it turned out, his job was operating a farm! I had quite a few conversations with Bob about the equipment on his farm, and we traded information. He is Manager of Farm Operations at the Morris County Park Commission's Historic Foster fields Farm, in Morristown, New Jersey.

Bob was cleaning out several old farm buildings filled with nearly 50 years accumulation of farm debris. In one of the buildings, workers found many old tools and implements, including an Associated Hired Hand engine which he wanted to get running for display and use. As a historic farm, Foster fields is run as a working farm, using no or little modern equipment in its daily operations. Its operational time frame is from 1890 to 1920. Being built about 1913, the little Associated would fit just fine in the time frame, and would be a welcome addition to the farm display.

Bob had wanted to use the expertise of the members of the club to learn how to restore the little 1 HP engine, in order to use it at the farm. Unfortunately, through the winter months, we did not have any winter projects going that Bob could use to get his own project underway. We gave him some advice on how the engine should run, but I guess that hands on practice is the best way to learn. Anyway, in March of 1988, I received another call from Bob. He had tried all of our suggestions on how to start the little engine, but all it would do is sputter when it was cranked. He wanted to know if I knew anyone he could call with the experience in running these engines, who could give him a hand in getting it started, or at least give him a few tips on start up procedures, as he was really getting frustrated with it. I tried to help out over the phone but it was clear, after a few minutes, that it wouldn't work. I realized that it was easier for me to go to the engine in order to see what was going on, instead of trying to second guess the problems over the phone.

I was met at the farm visitors entrance by Bob, who gave me a quick tour of the farm facility. Although it had been part of the county park system for about eight years, the farm was just now beginning to come into its own as a working farm. The staff was working full time just putting sections of it back into operation.