PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE FREEBURG TRIBUNE.
405 E. Mill Street Freeburg, Illinois 62243
In mid-March I was spending a quiet evening at home coping with cabin fever as we were getting some early warm days, when the telephone rang. It was my granddaughter, who is in the seventh grade at Carl L. Barton Elementary School in Freeburg, Illinois.
'Do me a favor?' she asked. (Sound familiar?)
'What do you want?' I replied. She asked me to bring my Mogul engine to school for science class.
'Why?' I asked. She said that on the little model hit-and-miss engine they have at school the students can't see the parts and how they function. She told her science teacher, Mr. Gaby, that her grandpa had the real thing at home. After talking with her awhile I told her I would take her to school in the morning and talk with Mr. Gaby.
Then I started to think about it. Even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool International collector (my 1915 1 HP Mogul engine is my pride and joy), I realized that with my 1924 3 HP Model FW Jaeger hit-and-miss open crankcase engine, the students could see and I could explain all the working parts. The only problem I had was finding somewhere to setup the engine in case of inclement weather. The solution was to use the school bus garage. Now to make arrangements with Mr. Gaby. We decided on the following Monday. It would be an all-day experience, since there are four classes of seventh grade science.
After setting up, the first class came. I explained the four different strokes of the engine, and because of the open crankcase, the students could see everything. Then I opened the garage doors, started the engine and explained carburetion and how it was governed by the hit-and-miss method. The only mistake I made was not looking at the science book prior to my visit. The terminology the students were familiar with and the terms I used sometimes differed, causing some confusion. An example was they learned 'intake stroke,' and I was talking about 'suction stroke.'
After teaching the four classes of seventh graders (and due to the interest shown, the eighth grade science classes were included), I had a different outlook on our children. The same ones I have seen walking the streets with their baseball caps on backwards and wearing baggy pants, turned out to be well-mannered and inquisitive children. As seen in the picture taken by The Freeburg Tribune, what a way to promote a hobby! I plugged three of our nearby shows for this summer, and asked the children to attend and visit with me. To cap off a wonderful day, the science department asked me to return next year. So if you get the chance, take your engine to school.