The image of the Best engine (GEM, October 2002, page 29) is from a Best sales catalog at U.C. Davis. A number of these engines were built, and I have heard of two other surviving copies of the first series of Best engines.
Best Manufacturing did produce gas engines for several years, at least to the mid-1890s. They built at least one 75 HP single-cylinder engine, which was used at a mine in EI Dorado County, Calif. It was featured in an issue of Mining & Scientific Press.
I have an 1895 14 HP Best crude oil engine that I hope to do something with.
Jack Alexander 7795 Crews Road Gilroy, CA 95020
We recently went to an engine and tractor show where we were going to set up five engines and some other display items. Upon arrival, we were informed we had to buy a button - at $3 per person - to get in. This fee applied to everyone; vendors, exhibitors and spectators. I had already spent $22 in gas money to get there, I was not going to spend another $6 to show my engines. This club acted as though they did not care whether we stayed or not. I imagine they have enough people who will pay the $3. We turned around and went to a free flea market on the other side of town, had a nice side trip and enjoyed ourselves.
Is this something new starting? Is this club just greedy? I realize it costs money to set up these shows, but without the tractors and engines and other displays there would be nothing to see and no show. Four years ago at the Jacksonville, Ill., show they charged $5 to get in, but gave the $5 back later, along with meal tickets for lunch and dinner for three days, plus any gas I needed as an exhibitor to run my engines.
Also, I'd like to give folks a warning. While attending an auction in Centerville, Iowa, someone stole 16 steel wheels out of my trailer. It was stupid on my part for leaving them in plain site in an open trailer. I believe I know who took them, but I can't prove it. Don't leave items unattended, as I did.
George DePoola P.O. Box 12 Carbon Cliff, IL 61239
Send letters to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265, or e-mail: rbackus @ ogdenpubs.com
Jacob Schmidt, 53, West Bend, Wis., passed away Jan. 18, 2002. He was employed with Ameritech for 31 years. Jacob was vice president of the Kewaskum Historical Society, a member of the Empire Threshing Association of Eden and a member of the Board of Appeals for the town of Kewaskum. Jacob collected antique gas engines and enjoyed woodworking in his spare time. He is survived by his wife, Violet; two daughters, Laurel and husband, Mike Nonhof, and Kristine and husband, Dan Wolf; one granddaughter, Julie Nonhof; his parents, Orville and Geraldine Schmidt; one sister, Cynthia Barry; and other relatives and friends. Jacob will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends.
Submitted by Kristine Wolf