Just when I start thinking the old-iron collective might have
finally and tragically exhausted the available supply of orphaned
engines, yet another one turns up. It’s amazing to me that 10,
50 and sometimes 100 years after they were abandoned, old engines
continue to come literally out of the woodwork. I’ll admit the
pickings are getting slimmer, but they’re still out there.
One look at the 2 HP Sandwich Kent Blethen happened upon should
be enough to convince even the most skeptical that there’s
still plenty of old iron out there waiting to be found. The
Sandwich Kent found is a complete, rare and original engine, the
kind of find most of us can only dream about. Turn to page 20 to
see Kent’s great find.
There’s no denying that Kent was lucky. He met the right
person in the right place at the right time. But finding orphaned
iron usually requires a hunt, and a successful hunt takes a
commitment of time and energy – plus a willingness and desire to
Just look at the 4 HP 1911 Bovaird & Seyfang Howard
‘Sam’ Weaver pulled out of an old oil lease in
Pennsylvania. He didn’t just stumble on that engine, he made
its discovery happen by planting seeds and harvesting the results.
He was willing to meet people he didn’t know and drive to
unfamiliar locations in his bid to find some old iron. And the
direct result of his commitment and perseverance was a rare and
fabulous hot-tube engine. Turn to page 22 for the full story on his
Not everyone moves to the same beat or motivation, of course.
Many collectors are motivated by crafting, not hunting. Just look
at the various home-built engines and tractors routinely spread
across the pages of GEM. This issue is no exception, with four
homemade engines and ‘tractors’ crafted by determined
collectors. To the last man, these collectors were motivated by a
desire to create something that hadn’t previously existed – at
least not in the form taken since they put their inventive and
creative minds to the task.
That creative streak is at the core of the hobby. Whether
it’s applied to the hunt or the creation of a new
interpretation of old iron, the creative energy of the old-iron
collective ensures a never-ending supply of old – and ‘new’
– equipment for the rest of us to enjoy.
1893 Jigger Details
Read this reader’s letter about a photo of a gas-engine operated jigger.
Answer To Mysterious Engine
Has this reader correctly identified a mysterious engine from a past issue? Read to find out.
Check out this reader’s letter about an photo in the April/May issue.