A Gas Engine Magazine reader talks about his thirty and growing engine collection and restoration of gas engines.
It was with a great deal of interest that I learned you are going to publish a magazine on gasoline engines. I am very interested in the collection and restoration of gas engines and have been collecting and restoring vintage engines for the past 3 or 4 years.
We have a very active engine club in the Early Day Gas Engines & Tractor Association, Branch #3 (Geneseo, Illinois) of which I am Secretary. This year we put on our second engine show the end of August and felt it was a great success. Some seven or eight thousand people viewed the displays (despite a little rain on Sunday) which all goes to prove that there are a lot of us guys around that are still interested in these farm implements of long ago. There's nothing quite like the "putt-putt-BANG" sounding out across the field to recall to mind the days when these engines, great and small, were the workhorses of the farms (and in many a home where they gave mom a hand with the laundry and some other chores of the day.) At the end of the show we were tired and generally a sight for sore eyes, but very happy that things had gone so well. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly.
I particularly enjoy finding an old, rusty engine that hasn't been run in years and restoring it to running condition — a coat of paint and some fancy striping and it looks real dandy, too.
Here are some "before" and "after" pictures of some of my engines: The first is a 6 HP Monitor mounted on a saw rig. This engine was made around 1900 — I bought it from Lawrence Nichols of R.R. Galesburg, Illinois. His dad bought the engine in 1908 and it was used then. The ol' Monitor runs that saw real good and will keep three men busy feeding it wood. (See pictures 1 "before" and 2 "after".) Then there is the 8 HP Fields-Brundage. This is a side shaft engine. It was found over by Yates City, Illinois in a corn crib where it had been gathering cobwebs for goodness knows how long, as you can tell since the wheels are about half buried. Picture shows my restored 8 HP Root-Vandervoort, better known as "R & V". This engine had been in a corn crib in Altona, Illinois since near the turn of the century; but boy you ought to see the old smoke fly as she chugs away! Surprisingly enough, this engine was in near mint condition when I found it except for the valves being stuck the paint was even still good.
I am pretty proud of these seven smaller engines ranging from 1-1/2 horse to 5 horse, too. There are thirty engines in all in my collection and still growing!
One thing often overlooked in engine collecting, and something that people often ask about at the engine shows, is the equipment that these engines were used to run. An example of that is this 2-hole Sandwich Corn Sheller given to be by George Sheckler of Ellisville, Illinois. (He also gave me an old engine-powered barrel butter churn his mother used to use made by the Acme Churn Co.) Also I have a small burr mill and a Baker fan I made.
May I enclose — with great enthusiasm — my check for a year's subscription to your magazine! With best wishes for the success of what I feel sure will be a very popular magazine.