I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: One of the best things about working at Gas Engine Magazine is the community. Always helpful, always friendly and always willing to chime in with their thoughts and opinions on how to make GEM better. Positive or negative, the community’s feedback is always useful and welcomed.
In the October/November 2012 issue, I talked about the importance of encouraging the next generation of antique gas engine collectors. At shows I attended over the summer (including the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, the Rough & Tumble Thresherman’s Reunion in Kinzers, Pa., and the South Central Pennsylvania Old Tyme Days in Dover), the theme of engaging the younger generation came up in almost every conversation I had. Whether that meant taking the time to talk to younger folks one-on-one, setting up special displays that focused on getting the attention of kids or entire collections built on post-hit-and-miss engine technology (with the idea that the technology is a little more relatable to what kids see and interact with in their everyday lives today, while providing a link to older, hit-and-miss technology), everyone had ideas and opinions about rousing a new group of collectors.
But the criticism I heard was just as important. I talked with a few subscribers about an essential piece of the kids-and-antique-engines puzzle that was absent from my original column: safety.
By and large, the antique gas engine community is made up of responsible, thoughtful and careful collectors. Keeping engines behind ropes, never allowing little hands near running engines and always having your eyes open are probably the most important things collectors can do to make sure the community as a whole continues to thrive. Engagement and education shouldn’t just be focused on the history, but should include lessons on safe practices and responsibility. I’m sure this isn’t news to any of you, but occasional reminders that all attendees at shows aren’t as versed in safety as the bulk of the community are worth mentioning.
By the time the December 2012/January 2013 print issue hits your mailbox, show season should be comfortably behind us. As you begin your winter projects, consider taking notes, snapping some photos and sending them our way. This issue has stories from three readers who did just that: Joel Sanderson makes his 15 HP Reid run a little smoother on a kerosene/gas mixture, Jerome Then shares tips on getting a severely stuck piston loose and John Gaul shares the impressive working history of a 1-3/4 HP United engine, an engine that is still going strong more than 100 years after it was made.
And as always, call, write or email me. I love hearing what the community has to say.