Stationary Engine List


| September/October 2001



Stationary engine

A quick update, as promised last month, on what's happening on the UK engine scene. The 'Thousand Engine' rally, the biggest engine rally held here, went ahead without difficulty. We even had plenty of sunshine, which isn't a common sight at our rallies! The show held at our local steam pumping station to celebrate the opening of Britain's new Space and Science centre was such a success that we've been asked to help organise another one next year! Finally, as I mentioned, there has now been a wonderful addition to our collection, because with the help of many friends in the U.S., I bought my husband a 15 HP BD Tillinghast half-breed oilfield engine for his 40th birthday. Back in the May 2001 issue of GEM there was an article about a 20 HP Bessemer which went to Japan, and the final paragraph mentioned that the author, Bill Tremel, had been asked by friends to find a similar engine to take to the UK. It nearly blew the surprise, because by the time that article appeared, work was already well underway to find and restore the perfect engine for this project! As the engine in question is still in the States, I produced a book detailing the history of this type of engine, and the story of how this particular one was found and restored. This book travelled with us to the recent shows, where it was studied with interest. We now find ourselves in a position we never expected to be in--having an extremely unusual engine which generates specific invitations from show organisers. This makes the subject of this month's article particularly relevant to us--'snobbery' at engine shows, either by organisers who only invite people with rare engines to exhibit, or spectators openly critical of the common engines on display. The discussion began with someone talking about a show he had visited:

This past weekend I was at a pretty nice show, although not what you'd call a big show. I generally consider myself to be an engine snob and only pay attention to engines that I consider interesting. So I was somewhat disappointed at this show, as there were only two engines that were what I considered to be good engines, a 25HP IHC Giant and a 10 HP Stover Vertical. The rest was pretty much common stuff.

I'm more interested in seeing the engines that the majority of collectors don't have. I'm not interested in looking at engines everyone has. I admit that some people like seeing the common stuff, as it gives them a chance to see or hear an engine like the one they had on the family farm. But this group is getting smaller each year, as fewer and fewer people have any personal memories of the old family farm engine. I admit I'm an engine snob, elitist, whatever. Will anyone else admit to being one too?

I think that all of us in this hobby can find our 'niche' somewhere; therefore all of us are 'engine snobs' in various ways. Myself, I like BIG stationary engines, but see little of value in oil field iron. I have good friends who are into oil field engines, and while supporting their interests, theirs is NOT mine. Others seem to 'get it off' by collecting S/N-date lists. Again, that's not my thing, but I support their efforts.

The ONLY 'collectors' that I have a problem with are those who claim that MAYTAGS are 'engines.' The only GOOD MAYTAG is a MAYTAG with an axe in it!

What we can or cannot afford doesn't really make a difference in what we like. It does make a big difference in what we have in our collection.