SPARK PLUG OF THE MONTH

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Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana
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Courtesy of Alex Edgar, R. R. 1, Ayr, Ontario, Canada
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Courtesy of Thomas C. Graves, 14020 S.W. River Lane, Tigard, Oregon 97223
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Courtesy of Lie J. Wanie, Horicon, Wisconsin 53032
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Courtesy of Bradford Co. Old Timers, Inc., Robert Greenough, Sec.-Treas., Box 75, R. D. 1, Columbia Cross Roads, Pennsylvania 16914
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Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana
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Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana
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Courtesy of Mr. Goodwin Nelson, Arthur, North Dakota
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Courtesy of Harold J. Gay, 633 Cleveland Street, Decatur, Indiana 46733
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Courtesy of S. W. Sararas, New Dundee, Ontario, Canada
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Courtesy of Alex Edgar, R. R. 1, Ayr, Ontario, Canada
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Courtesy of S. W. Sararas, New Dundee, Ontario, Canada
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Courtesy of Alex Edgar, R. R. 1, Ayr, Ontario, Canada

Dayton Daily News & Radio’s ‘Joe’s
Journal’

Sometimes the SPARK PLUG OF THE MONTH is a hard critter to
define – a sort of ‘half-breed’ mixture of human elements
functioning variously as both Spark Plug and Iron Man – it’s
often difficult to tell which.

The last time I saw him and his son booming like a mobile cannon
up the gay midway of the Darke County Steam Threshers, last summer
– and hailed them to a halt for a snapshot of the twain astride
their mighty half-size Rumely Oil-Pull, I was convinced they
epitomized the perfect father-son niche in the Spark Plug Hall of
Fame.

But, later, when I buggied up to Houston, Ohio-way, for a few
photos and workshop interview, and finding our Junior-Senior
partnership poring over a well-advanced half-size model of a
free-lance steam traction engine -well, maybe you can sympathize
with those of us who struggle at categorizing the human
species.

But, be he Spark Plug or Iron Man, the object of our scrutiny,
Weldon Dill, has a philosophy of life that well summarizes
both.

‘I’ve spent lots of time going to junkyards hunting
parts,’ says Weldon, both eyes lighting up like spark plugs in
that iron-man frame of his at just the mere thoughts of it all.
‘In fact I enjoy hunting around a junkyard so much that I’d
just like to live there.’ (End quote).

It was all quite so interesting, listening to Welden Dill
explain the features and dimensions of his half-size steam traction
engine – the fact that it boasted a 6-inch bore and 7-inch stroke
and have him whip open the smoke-box front to give you a perfect
view of the fourteen two-inch flues illuminated in the afternoon
sun wafting through the workshop door.

And of course there was that little eye-catcher – a 500 pound,
2? horsepower pint-sized model of a steam traction engine perched
atop a shelf, well anchored from wood studding, high on the
workshop wall. (A pity if ‘t would ever fall!)

Your eyes bug with hope, as Welden Dill promises that the larger
steam traction model will be completed sometime in July – and you
envision it chugging over the various midwest reunion grounds come
mid-summer, just in time for belting up to thresh the golden grain.
And you chuckle within yourself as he tells you, a bit proudly,
that the ‘little fellow’ up on the shelf pulled the big
cement mixer with ease when pouring his workshop floor.

‘But what about the gas engine loves in your life,
Weldon?’ queried I, nudging him back from steam engine heaven
to gasoline alley – where the tried and true Spark Plug of the
Month should really be. ‘What about the mighty little half-size
Rumley O. P. I saw you and Bill booming over the Darke County
Threshers reunion grounds, last summer? I want to hear about
that.’

Welden Dill and son, Bill, 7, boom their way over Darke County
Threshers grounds, Greenville, in western Ohio. A familiar sight at
any midwest gasoline alley and steam reunion.

Welden Dill and son Bill climb up to examine 500 lb. pint-sized
steam traction engine model, on shelf overhead of shop. (Pity if it
would fall!) Welden and son, Bill, used it to power cement mixer in
their labors at building workshop flooring.

‘Oh yes, the Rumely,’ snapped Welden. ‘As I told
you, I practically took up residence in the junkyards – hunting
parts. And I might have to go back and live there some more, before
the oil-cooled radiator is completed.’

‘It is powered by an old International 3 H.P. engine – made
to operate on kerosene, but I prefer mixing my fuels for best
results,’ explains Dill. ‘However, No. 2 diesel fuel blows
the best smoke rings.’

Of the Rumely model, says Welden Dill, ‘It’s a junkyard
conglomeration of John Deere Model-B clutch and pulley,
McCormick-Deering binder bull-wheels for rear-end gearing.
International bull-gears and pinions, Model-T differential and
Pontiac transmission while the front end consists of McCormick
Deering front axle and wheels, narrowed with rack-and-pinion slide
to keep the wheels clear of the belt. And altogether she’ll
just play with a 30-inch saw.’

If you can envision all of that in one mighty heap – you’ll
wind up with a fair conception of the cannon-booming, smoke-ringing
rig, known as Welden Dill’s mighty little Rumely Oil-Pull, a
veritable mobile artillery on wheels, And, if you can’t see it
in your mind’s eye – you’ll be sure to hear it, like the
proverbial ‘bombs bursting in air, and the rocket’s red
glare’ gave proof that the Rumely was still there, come next
summer’s reunion.

And whence did all this love for such iron monsters stem from —
the like of which some less imaginative folk relegate to the
inhuman and unloved?

‘ I was born and raised on a Shelby county farm, in western
Ohio,’ says Welden Dill (as if that would surprise us.)
‘Practically grew up on my grandfather’s Nichols and
Shepperd Engine. Later he traded for a 65-horsepower Case – and
that’s the engine I really got started on.’

‘From then on it was in my blood’,’ muses Dill, wro
later became so ensconced in big farming – 600 acres at a time –
that even Uncle Sam’s draft board deemed him more necessary on
the home front than riding ship and toting gun across the pond in
World War Two.

Welden Dill (The master, himself) doing a hitch at some of his
workshop genius, fashioning a piece for a gas engine to be run
around at next summer’s reunions. By the looks of things, he
could operate that lathe in his sleep.

Meantime Welden Dill spent odd hours fashioning home-spun toys
for his growing ‘young-uns.’ Made derricks and trucks for
the boys – doll beds and baby buggies for the girls – reared his
kids on wheels and love And the young ones, still at home, are now
cutting their eye-teeth on steel bull-rings, pipe-nipples and
pop-whistles.

‘The finest heritage we can give our children is to raise
them in the familiar atmosphere of the big engines – 
 let them grow up in grandpa’s shoes,’ sums up Welden
Dill. ‘The future of our steam engine, gasoline alley reunions
lies in the coming generations.

‘That’s why I teach my boys to like and run the big
steam and gas engines,’ philosophizes iron man Dill – 
tried and true Spark Plug of the Month that he is.

Our eyes will be bugging, our ears flapping, when you come
booming your way down reunion hill – Brother Spark Plug, Welden
Dill.

This picture was taken at Good Samaritan Home, Arthur, North
Dakota, in September of 1965. The engine is a Flower City 40-70. It
was new in 1912, but it had not run since 1928 until it was
overhauled and used for part of our 1965 harvest.

This is a 35-70 Minneapolis Gas Tractor owned by Sherald Bonnel,
Kewanna, Ind. (Photo by Ernest Hoffer)

This is myself crushing barley in the winter. See the planks to
keep the engine from freezing in the ground.

This is my 1928 Fordson on cultivator. Please note my two boys,
twins Alvin and Andy. Their birthday is the same day as mine, March
12.

This is a 16-30 Oil Pull on hammermill, owned by Don Calhoun,
Beeton, Ontario. Ross Calder, Preston, Ontario, is at the
controls.

This is my Master Workman or 6 H.P. Temple, 2 cylinder gas
engine. It was built in 1908 in Chicago, Ill.

A short letter from Roger L. Eshelman, Box 63, College Springs,
Iowa 51637 and he writes: ‘I have heard comment on the Nelson
Bros. Engine Co. and how it was sold under many different trade
names, but not too much on all the engines built at Waterloo,
Iowa.

I have done a little checking on several engines and have found
them to be identical in most respects. On some, the only difference
is the shape of the water hopper.

Some of the names of these engines are: Majestic, Sandow,
American Boy, Associated, Waterloo Boy, Galloway, Sheldon, Weil and
United. Some of these engines are listed as engines sold at St.
Joe, Mo., Lansing, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois and etc.

Could someone write to the GEM and give an explanation to all
this similarity yet difference in these engines?’

Roger contributes quite frequently to our magazine, but would
like to know more on this subject, so if you can give us any
information on this – we’d be happy to hear from you.

If you haven’t sent for one of Roy Glessner’s ‘An
Album of Iron-Men Cartoons’-what are you waiting for? -You
don’t know what you’re missing! Roy is certainly a talented
artist and has that extra ability to think up the ideas for the
drawings. They are certainly amusing and definitely that something
that perks you up and makes you chuckle-and what better movement in
this world than to bring a little laughter to people.

We’re happy to report that Elmer is motivating more on his
own power each day and it is good to see him up and around
again-that old saying ‘You can’t keep a good man down,’
I think applies here.

Had a lovely visit with son Eddie, wife Kathi and the new little
granddaughter, Stacey Jo as they made their first long trip with
the baby and came to visit us on March 25. They were only here
about six hours but we all thoroughly enjoyed it and it is another
one of those precious moments to record in our treasury of
memories.

Just a reminder -GEM is now 1? years old and growing like a
youngster.

Here’s another receipe you might like to try – grand for
company, meetings or just for the family. It’s called Graham
Cracker Delight-1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, Graham crackers,
3 packages Jello, 1 can crushed pineapple, 1 cup nuts, 1 cup
shredded cocoanut. Cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Add
pineapple, nuts and cocoanut. Line 2-10′ x 15′ cake pans
with graham crackers. Spread above over crackers. Pour over this
the Jello which has been allowed to come to the setting point (?
jelled). Allow to set completely after being poured on cracker
mixture. When serving, top with whipped cream. Cut in squares.
Serves 16-20 servings. This can be made the day before you want it
and will still be very good.

And now, I’ll close with a few thought provoking
statements-Praising yourself to the skies will not get you
there.-He who is not grateful for the good old things he has, would
not be happy with what he wishes he had. -Hardening of men’s
hearts ages them quicker than hardening of the arteries.-No man has
ever hurt his eyesight by looking on the bright side of life.

Here is my 19 H.P. Goold Shapky & Muir Gas Engine. It has 60
inch flywheels, hit and miss governor. My wife Marion.

This is an aermotor pump jack unit. These engines were briefly
mentioned in an earlier issue of this journal. They are unusual in
that they were eight cycle. That is, the firing impluse occurs
every fourth revolution or eighth stroke. Built without water
cooling or fan, the radiation fins plus the ‘gulping’ of
air on the idling stroke cycles served to keep them from
overheating.

Also these are the hit and miss type with make and break
ignition using dry batteries and low tension coil.

This engine has no builder’s plate, so I do not know the
serial number or rated horse power. Raised letters cast on the
flywheel read Aermotor Company, Chicago.

This is a picture of a ‘Titan’ two cylinder upright gas
engine owned jointly by 3 of our members. This was manufactured by
International Harvester Corporation. Recommended speed of 335
R.P.M., it develops 35 H.P. (Each flywheel weighs 1100 pounds.)

The men pictured with the engine are left to right Directors:
Bono Vannoy; George Pautz; Claude Cannon; Secretary, Bob Greenough;
President O. J. Kingsley.

Our organization had our third annual show in August, which was
a very successful event. Our ‘live steam’ train was enjoyed
by young and old. This ride occupied the little ones part of the
time, making it easier for the parents to see the rest of the
show.

This is a picture of myself circling wood in the Fall of 1966
with my 1921 14-28 Avery.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines