Collecting: The Fun of the Hunt

| July/August 1992

  • Field beside David's barn
    In a small field beside David's barn, he and his brothers and father worked to set up the corn shocks.

  • Field beside David's barn

3203 Norton Rd. Radnor, Ohio 43066

The first thing you see as you approach the David Baxter farm from the west is a large, pristine white barn. David recently had it built to shelter some of his farming equipment and much of his antique farm machinery collection. He hates to see any equipment left out to weather and rust.

When David began his collection he specialized in gas engines only. He and his friend, Alan King, would head out on Saturday mornings to check out leads about some old gas engines. As they drove along on obscure country roads they would 'sniff out' likely old farmsteads. More often than not they would meet an interesting 'older farmer' who just happened to have a John Deere or Economy gas engine sunk in the dirt floor of an old bam shed. They would dicker a little until a deal was made and take their 'find' home to keep or to fix up and sell.

David built his collection to forty gas engines. Soon he realized that he did not own the collection as much as it owned him. He had to start engines up regularly and run them for a while to keep them in good condition. Then, come winter, all the fuel and water tanks had to be drained. He decided to sell all but an Economy, a Gray and a Rock Island.

The first piece of harvesting equipment David bought was an Allis Chalmers combine with a forty inch cut and a bagger. It could harvest about an acre an hour and the custom rate at the time of its introduction was probably about two dollars an acre. He wanted this model because it was the smallest one that Allis Chalmers made and was only manufactured over a two year period.

Generally David prefers to leave his antique equipment 'as is' after he gets it running but, if the piece is badly in need of paint and showing a lot of rust, he paints. He found some of the articles in the Gas Engine Magazine especially helpful in making correct color choices because they specified the original color numbers.