Whenever I find myself talking about antique engines with someone outside the hobby, I always find a way to mention Coolspring Power Museum in Coolspring, Pa.
I realize that Coolspring means very little to someone who’s never heard of it, but mentioning it allows me to draw a parallel that helps the person better understand what the antique engine hobby is all about. I go on to explain that Coolspring is to antique engines as Wrigley Field or Fenway Park are to baseball. That comparison usually helps the person understand that collecting historic engines is just a part of what makes the antique engine hobby special; that it’s the people behind those engines, the relationships built and the sentimentality attached to these engines that truly makes the hobby special.
With that in mind, I embarked on a year-long project to document the history and personality of Coolspring Power Museum. The end result is a 96-page book called “Coolspring: Discovering America’s Finest Antique Engine Museum,” the latest installment in the new Gas Engine Magazine “Preservation Series” of books and products. The book is a collection of 40 engine profiles, handpicked by the members of Coolspring, that represent just a sampling of the historically significant engines on display at the museum.
In addition to the wealth of technical information provided by musuem co-founder Paul Harvey, curator Preston Foster, vice-president Clark Colby and others, the book takes a closer look at the people behind the engines and the buildings that house the collection. As you might expect, there’s a story to share about every engine and building at Coolspring.
This book offers something for everyone. If you purchase the book in the Coolspring gift shop, it will serve as a handy map and tour guide as you walk the museum grounds, offering much more information than can be included on a small sign. And if you’ve never been to Coolspring, I hope the fascinating stories and full-color photographs will fuel your daydreams until you’re able to make the pilgrimage.
“Coolspring: Discovering America’s Finest Antique Engine Museum” is available for sale online in the Farm Collector Store. You can also pick up your copy at the Coolspring Power Museum gift shop at the Summer Exposition and Flea Market, June 16-18, or Fall Exposition and Swap Meet, Oct. 13-15.