The Mother's Side Of An Antique Engine Collector

| September/October 1989

1229 Huntington Rd. Stratford, Connecticut 06497

I am the proud Mom of two fine young men who became interested in collecting and restoring antique engines. My oldest son, Mike, came home one day raving about an old engine he found in the woods that obviously was abandoned. Somehow it fascinated him so much and someone at his work told him they are collectible and could be restored to work. Well, when he came home with this rusty piece of old junk, as I called it, I just yelled, 'No more junk or collectibles allowed! You've got too much already.' So he, regretably, gave it away to the friend at work. It was a Fairbanks-Morse, a common engine, but when we went to our first show up in Orange, Massachusetts we were fascinated by the working and restored engines. We all, as a family, got very excited about having one. My son went to the next show and purchased his first engine, a 4 HP Novo. He went about restoring it and was proud and delighted with the finished product when it ran!

The reason I am writing about this experience is because there is so much in the world today that separates families, that makes the youth of today go in the opposite direction and get into so much trouble. This interest brought us together as a family and it was Mike and Todd that did all the work in restoring the engines and making them run. We were just the proud parents of these young men 23 and 16 years old. We were hooked, went to all the shows and even out to Portland, Indiana. Even on our vacations we took in engine shows, some in Canada.

So I'm writing as I said, to recommend a fine hobby such as this to keep the family close and help us to become better friends with our grown sons. They are now 28 and 21 and own quite a few engines. They have Maytags, Maytag washers, pumps, saws, a Famous 1? HP and a Jaeger. And my son, Todd, won first prize for the best restored engine at Belltown in 1984, with his Jaeger. When Mike acquired his Pasche air compressor it was all rusty, mounted on a cart with cover and now, restored, it's an air compressor he can be very proud of. He is even working on a miniature and is in the process of restoring a 4 HP Domestic.

The boys have met many fine people at these shows, most of whom are older than they are, but they have made some fine friendships over the years. We always get GEM magazine and I always hoped that someday one of their engines would be in it. I feel this story had to be told, because there is so much that is negative out there. There are good wholesome hobbies still around that can be enjoyed as a family.