Old Iron Collector Has Diverse Interests in Antiques

Regional old iron and farm implements add heft to Canadian collection.

Coffield Gyrator

A Coffield Gyrator washing machine in Willard Giberson's collection. The widely acclaimed Gyrator sold for $119.50 ($1,594.50 today) in 1927.

Photo By Lorain Ebbetts-Rideout

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Willard Giberson doesn’t limit his collection to antique gas engines. He also enjoys tractors and other old iron. “Wood stoves, I like them,” he says enthusiastically. “I collected stoves before I took up engines.” The oldest one in his collection is a Tiger Model 21. “It’s 140-150 years old. I also have a few made locally by Connell Bros. down the road in Woodstock. They made parlor, hall and big cook stoves. The cook stoves came with the oven built into the stove pipe.”

Willard’s first stove was rescued at the local dump. “The owner was just getting ready to smash it when I arrived,” Willard recalls. “I asked if I could have it. He told me it belonged to a family member who used it in a camp around 1900. I think a wood stove is wonderful. Come in from working in the cold and there is supper on a hot wood stove, boys, that’s a good sight. What could be better?”

Farm implements cover the main floor of a second barn on Willard’s farm. Potatoes are still the main crop grown in New Brunswick, so it is no surprise to find a planter among his relics. The horse-drawn, 1-row potato planter was made by a firm in Houlton, Maine, 30 miles away. “The Aspinwall-Watson Co. Model No. 3 held a barrel of potatoes and two bags of fertilizer,” Willard says, “and it’s ground-driven. One row was slow but a good team could put in quite a bit of ground in a day.”

Parked near a dozen antique tractors is a No. 261 thresher, part of the “Gray Line” built by A.W. Gray & Sons, Middletown Springs, Vt. “I really want to see it running,” Willard says. “This model had an elevator device that pulled the tailings back through instead of doing it by hand like I had to. I sure want to see her shaking!” Willard plans to find a rubber-tire wagon to mount it on and then tackle the grain “stooks” (shocks, in the U.S.).

The collection also includes the unexpected – like a huge old washing machine. The Coffield Gyrator was built in Hamilton, Ontario, by Coffield Washer Co. Most were sold by pioneer Canadian retailer T. Eaton Co. Ltd. through the company’s catalogs. According to Coffield’s promotional material, a load of 15 pounds of clothes could be “cleaned of all dirt, horse hair and engine grease” in one washing. FC 

Find out about Giberson's engine collection in Old Engine Sparks New Hobby.