RFD 1, Carlock, Illinois 61725.
Greetings and salutations from Bob Patton a relative new-comer on the roster of engineers!
First of all I would like to state the fact that I am very interested in steam engines and antique farm machinery reason being primarily of my agrarian heritage. (I have lived on a farm my entire life.) The purpose of my article is two fold to convince the experienced, wizardly, elders of the importance of qualified, interested and reliable youth and to convey understanding of the problems which the previous youth encounter (primarily money).
It is a fact that the steam engine hobby within twenty, thirty or forty years will die out unless the qualified, interested, reliable youth introduce themselves to the older people who already have engines. The average engineer who reads this article will meditate on the following. 'When I no longer can take care of my engine, I'll sell it making a fat profit and the individual who I sell it to will just automatically take good care of it!' How wrong a person can be!!!
There has to be good youth in our shows learning the mechanics of organization so when it comes their turn to take over, they will prove themselves to have endurance and not lose interest within several years. Actions speak louder than words. It is a fact that a youth's interests run in bursts of short spans. One day, month or year he may be extremely interested in a matter, then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, he will totally lose interest. (How many of you who are now reading this article was interested in some hobby, past-time, project or any matter, then suddenly 'for no reason at all' just quit working on the object?) I'm sure that this can relate to each and every one of us. Quality youth must and has to pass the time test if our hobby will survive. In other words, I'm saying 'do not always sell your engine and equipment to the highest bidder' unless you are very money hungry and greedy. The person that truly loves the hobby is generally the individual that simply just cannot afford it. And the person that can afford it can also afford other material luxuries that diverts his interests. This is the man that will and would ultimately, if he had no prospective buyers, sell out in a hastily, careless manner selling to strangers and people that just didn't care. Thus, some day the engine will really end up in-the junk yard. It may take twenty years or more, but it will make it. I am trying to fight this just as much if not more than you.
Please give the youth which I'm talking about a fighting chance. Don't forcibly kill their long-termed interests by a ridiculously high price tag. The price and discrimination is up to you owners. Save your machinery from the evil interests of the junk dealers. Sell when in the market, not to the stranger with money, but to the 'youth that is good and the youth that you can say, 'See that young man over there? Because of my training, he's going to make a real engineer maybe even just as good as I was in my day I truly trust him.' '
Marriage is the end of a man.