An Old Iron Adventure (Aren't They All?)


| February/March 1993



Les Brantingham And Dan Ehlerding

Les Brantingham (left) and Dan Ehlerding (right), surveying a small portion of the 'find.'

Brantingham 10634 Oakford White lake, Michigan 48386

Did you ever notice how it's always the 'other guy' who always manages all the good luck and you always seem to be the one with what's left? I know the feeling. I'm the one the bank clerks wait for to get to their window before closing for lunch break. I'm the one who drives 300 miles to an auction on Thursday, only to find out that all the hit-n-miss engines are going on the block on Saturday (the day of my son's piano recital!), and I'm the one who missed all the numbers in the Michigan lottery by one number because my mother-in-law gave birth to dear Phyllis one day late! And I'm the one who scrimps and saves to buy my son a Michael Jordan rookie basketball card for (never mind the price!) his birthday. And on the day in question, he pulls one out of a 50 cent pack of bubblegum! Do these stories sound familiar?!! Well, guess what, that luck doesn't last forever as you are about to learn.

To digress for just a moment, you may have noticed that my last name is part of an agricultural machinery company name which, in its day, was a fairly large business concern. And until 1928 when Case acquired it, the Emerson-Brantingham Company of Rockford, Illinois had made significant contributions with their product line of EB, Peerless, Geiser, Osborne, and Newton equipment. We'll discuss the rise and fall of EB at another time; suffice to say that although the company is long gone, a lot of the old red iron is still around and begging to be found and restored.

Meanwhile, back to our story, since I got stuck with the same name as my dad, and he from his, and so forth back to where they were hanging by their tails ... if old Charles Brantingham could build 'em; then young John Brantingham can collect 'em; something to do with keeping it in the family or something.

These old red engines aren't really rare, but it isn't exactly like trying to find a Briggs either. Thanks to dear Phyllis (remember her, she is the family CPA!), and our good friend Hal Dunbar (of Adrian, Michigan fame), we got our first EB (a running 2? HP model S) on New Year's Day, 1988. Dad already had a beautifully restored H, so now we both had one; I guess that's that.

Wrong!!!!!