| September/October 1973

Gas Engine

Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana 47390

Joe Fahnestock

For years and years a fellow arrives and departs the factory gates where he's employed - clocking in of mornings and clocking out of evenings - returning home to partake of supper and read the daily newspaper thence to bed, only to repeat the performance at the cock's crowing, next morn. Oh yes, the good woman cooks the meals, washes the dishes and makes the beds, like a good wife should, while the man of the house does his thing - the twain sharing very little that could be called 'common interest' or 'mutual endeavor'.

Guess who's having fun? It looks like Spark Plug Ed Hufnal is, when he slides out his old gas engines from the family residential garage and has his own one-man gas engine show. L. to r. - an old 750 Model Delco Light Plant which he is restoring, a 2 HP Jaeger [his first engine] and a 3 HP Fairbanks-Morse. He says his engines scooted the starlings out of the trees and they never came back. How's that for neighborly relations?

True, the twosome had attended a so-called 'steam engine reunion' at Kinzers for years, but only to look and envy. For who could afford to own a steam engine, let alone house it or haul it around - a plaything of the well-to-do or those lucky enough to inherit one from an eminent, opulent forebear higher up on the family tree.

Then came the day when Dad was transferred from Hobart Manufacturing Co. of near Philadelphia, Pa., to Hobart Manufacturing Co. of Troy, Ohio, seven years ago, whereupon the breadwinner of the household read in the local newspaper about a certain Miami Valley Steam Threshing Show at Urbana, Ohio. And, packing the family into the family jalopy, they set off to attend -  to watch, and drool and wish - but as usual nothing eventful happened to change their mode of living except going back each summer to see the same show over and over again.

But fate changed all that when, one day, someone was passing out handbills advertising a certain Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Show to be held at Portland, Indiana - and Dad got one. So again they packed up and went. All of a sudden, son John looked up and said, 'Dad - I'd like to have one of these old engines to work over.'

This lit up a light-bulb in the subconscious regions of Dad's head.