In Memoriam

People are at the Root of the Old Iron Hobby/ and John Fankhauser Knew that Better than Anyone A Tribute to a Special Man

| July/August 2003

  • Memoriam


  • Memoriam

I haven't been in this hobby all that long, but I've known John Fankhauser the whole time.

The first guy I really got to know was Dave Rotigel. He introduced me to the Fort Allen (Pennsylvania) Antique Farm Equipment Association. I was working on my second engine (a 3-1/2 HP United) and I had a ton of questions about it, especially some problems with the mixer. Dave suggested I attend the next show, as he had someone he wanted me to meet, the smartest damn engine man he knew. This was John Fankhauser.

We sat in the shade and jawed for a while, and I dragged out my mixer. John gave it a long, slow examination and finally said, 'Am, what I'd do is put that old mixer up on a display shelf and put a good Model T carburetor on your engine. It'll run much better.'

That was John. He had a real appreciation for old engines, whether in their working clothes or beautifully restored. But deep down, John was an engine man, and for an engine man the thing was a piece of equipment with work to do to put food on the table.



As I started attending more and more engine shows, John would often ride along. Coolspring, Sistersville, Portland, Siam, Asheville, Findlay ... long drives made much shorter and more enjoyable with John along for the ride. He told stories about his working days in the family dairy and about working his own oil wells. He talked about oil field engines from first-hand, personal experience. The man had done so much, and he was an articulate storyteller.

The more I learned about his life, the more he reminded me of my Dad. My Dad died when I was 26, so I never got to share things with him that came to me later in life, things like engines, which he would have loved. My Dad and John had a lot in common, and I think they would have been great friends.



SUBSCRIBE TO GAS ENGINE MAGAZINE TODAY!

Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Be sure to take advantage of the Square Deal Subscription Program.

  • No Missed Issues.

  • No Renewal Notices.

  • No Additional Cost.

The Square Deal Subscription Program is designed as a paperless transaction with automatic renewals at a preferred low rate.   With advanced electronic notification, a 100% satisfaction guarantee and an easy opt-out plan, the Square Deal Subscription Program is the best value, risk free, eco-friendliest way to subscribe.




Facebook YouTube

Classifieds