Our First Year

By Staff
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Courtesy of Charles and Joanne Bryan, Box 262, Springfield, South Dakota 57062.
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Courtesy of Charles and Joanne Bryan, Box 262, Springfield, South Dakota 57062.
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Courtesy of Charles and Joanne Bryan, Box 262, Springfield, South Dakota 57062.
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Courtesy of Charles and Joanne Bryan, Box 262, Springfield, South Dakota 57062.
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Courtesy of Charles and Joanne Bryan, Box 262, Springfield, South Dakota 57062.

Springfield, South Dakota 57062

The calendar says that 365 days have passed since we began our
collecting. Collecting what? Well, what else other than gas and
diesel engines. A year ago Springfield was planning their
Centennial and we started in earnest to prepare engines for a
display during the celebration to be held on Jul 2, 3, and 4, 1970.
The whole family numbering six, got involved in locating, cleaning,
painting and least of all running the lot.

We began it all with a Fairbanks-Morse ‘Z’, which we
mounted to an open-geared pump jack for a parade float. During the
course of summer celebrations, it was displayed at several
neighboring towns and it won a first at Tabor Czech Days.

The Centennial display consisted of 15 engines, part of which
were furnished and displayed by Don Hoover of Webb, Iowa. Louis
Musilek of Springfield furnished a 1? hp. John Deere, two small
feed grinders and a corn shelter; and Laurel Iverson, also of
Springfield, furnished a 1? hp. Cushman, all of which were operated
during the display.

Since this time, we have obtained enough engines to make a
sizeable display of our own, but we are grateful for the help we
needed at Centennial time to make our display more interesting,
more complete, and more appropriate.

Some of the engines displayed included: Witte 1? hp. logsaw,
Ottawa 4 hp. logsaw, 1928 Briggs & Stratton, 1? hp. John Deere,
3 hp. Associated, 6 hp. Fairbanks, 1? hp. Fuller & Johnson, 1?
hp. International. And lastly, our favorite engine, a 6 hp. Witte
Dieselectric light plant which was hooked up to lights. All engines
displayed were running and their ‘putt-putt’ drew much
attention and much reminiscing from the crowd.

This name Dieselectric was not only a showpiece, but also served
this past winter as a useful standby when Nebraska and Southern
South Dakota were hit by a severe icestorm, which took the power
out for some 26 hours. After finding out the severity of the storm
we decided to put the Dieselectric to something more than a hobby
and hooked it up to the house. It appeared that the Bryan household
was the only house in town with electric power. This plant was to
keep 19 of us plus our neighbors home comfortable throughout the
duration of the power failure. At midnight of the first day the
plant had been run 12 hours, non-stop, without missing a stroke.
This was the first opportunity to put the unit to a test and it
came through with flying colors. The Bryan’s have struck their
blow for useful hobbies!

Charles has had an interest in engines for as long as he can
remember as he started training as ‘Dad’s helper’ when
he had to work on the old hit-and-miss, or the car. It seemed that
he was always working on some type of engine so the experiences
were varied and the knowledge gained a life-long asset. As a boy he
helped pump water to some 500 head of cattle during the dry
30’s with a Fairbanks model ‘Z’ pump jack identical to
the unit previously mentioned. (Our Fairbanks seems much easier to
run now than it did in the 30’s, to say the least.) After
working on the ranch, U.S. Army, and attended trade school, Charles
went on to obtain a Master’s Degree in Industrial Education.
Employment was obtained at Niles Township Community High School in
Skokie, Illinois, where he taught automotive classes for two years.
He is now department head of the Diesel and Power Controls
Technology Department at Southern State College at Springfield,
South Dakota, and teaches hydraulics as his main subject. This
biography is an attempt to explain his interest, and therefore our
interest, in diesel and gas engines.

Posing with a ‘Dies electric Plant’ is Charles Bryan of
Springfield. The display was one of many at the Centennial Pageant.
Bryan, incidentally, is at home with this type of training as he
teaches diesel technology at Southern State College. (We thank The
Springfield Times for use of the picture — Anna Mae.

This spring will find us rejuvenating the engines collected
during the fall and the winter and we hope to be able to have a
mobile display to take to shows.

As an outgrowth of our engine hobby, our son Brad, has started a
sparkplug collection and our youngest daughter, Corinn, has started
a collection of insulators. The other two girls, Brenda and
Christine, ‘go along’ with the whole affair as helpers, but
haven’t gotten very involved.

As in most hobbies, there are drawbacks to collecting old
engines. Time and space seem to be ours; time to hunt, time to
restore, time to enjoy. And living in town limits our space for
storage and therefore, it is hard to show or work on them.

We have many engines we would like to collect, but we do feel
that our first year has been rewarding as well as fun.

Our Witte Dieselectric as it sat at the back
door during the March ice storm. As you can see, we had a temporary
cooling system on the engine but we had no problems during the
twelve hours of operation.

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