| March/April 1973

Dayton Daily News & Radio's 'joe's journal'

Several years ago, Carl Secchi, as President of the Blue Grass Steam & Gas Show, Harrodsburg, Ky., began awarding a special plaque to every Spark Plug I wrote up for THE GAS ENGINE MAGAZINE. He informed me that he was doing it, in cooperation with The Champion Spark Plug Co., in recognition of the fellows who worked so hard and contributed so much to the engine shows.

In appreciation of this fine gesture, I wrote to Carl, asking for a snapshot of him holding the new plaque, so I could write up a bit of publicity for G. E. M.-- as a sort of 'Thank You' to both him and The Champion Co.

But in reply, Carl wrote, 'As originator and writer of these Spark Plug stories, you are the 'Chief Coil', and will receive the first plaque. So, you just write yourself up, along with the history of the Joe Dear.'

I might add that, outside of writing up the various 'Spark Pluggers' who work so hard to fix up the fine old engines that keep the shows going, my only claim to being a Spark Plug is the little three-wheeled garden tractor which many know today as the 'Joe Dear'. Most of these people might well think that I cobbled up the little tri-wheeled monster, solely for showing around at the reunions--and nothing more. Little do they realize that I made the little Delco-powered tractor, over a quarter of a century ago, just after the Second World War, and long before the gas engine reunions.

My younger brother, Stanley, would soon be returning from the European Theatre of the War. He always had a 'Green Thumb', was a fine gardener, and I felt that if I could make some kind of small, powered tractor or cultivator, he and I could do some real gardening out in the country, after he was mustered out. Later I learned that his young English bride had announced 'All that will stop, when I get there,' even before she had met the family. All of which explains why brother Stanley took no interest in the little tractor I'd made in his honor. Her prophecy had indeed proved true. For I don't recall him ever noticing it or even commenting about it, the many times they'd visited us in the country.