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Great Times with Great Finds

It was a dark and stormy night. 

Call me Ishmael. 

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. 

Good stories start in any number of ways. But in the old iron hobby, the best tales seem to start with a great find. And the pages of our newest special collector’s edition — Great Finds: Tales of Hunting Old Iron — are packed with ’em.

These are the kinds of stories, as my father used to say, that draw old men from the fireside and children from their play. A great find is, by definition, a remarkable experience; the kind of thing that doesn’t happen every day. Listen closely and you’ll hear a tale woven of hard work, chance and luck — and usually there’s a buddy or two, a large body of water and heavy equipment in the mix as well.

Great finds often start as tiny seeds. They may originate from little more than a wisp of a conversation overheard decades earlier or a fragment of a vague childhood memory; rumors, conjecture, theories. Others may roll their eyes and scoff. But the true believer holds on tight. Next thing you know, he’s wrapping cable around a 90-year-old steam engine and pulling it out of a river or digging an equally old gas engine out of a collapsed shed deep in the woods.

Drawn from the archives of Farm Collector, Gas Engine Magazine and Steam Traction, nearly two dozen stories of truly great finds cover every aspect of the old iron hobby. You’ll read about engines clawed out of the Alaskan wilderness, engines extracted from rivers and tractors rescued from trees that seem intent on consuming them. Other stories tell of uncommonly determined collectors who, on realizing that they might never find the treasure they sought, simply hunkered down and set to work making replicas from scratch.

Whether you’re looking for a good read, a bit of inspiration or both, you’ll enjoy Great Finds immensely. Then clear the decks and settle in. Pass a wicked winter night or two as an armchair traveler, savoring old iron adventures. After all, who doesn’t love a good story?  FC

Leslie McManus, Editor