R & T Restores an Avery


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A restoration project that began in 1978 was brought to a climax by Rough & Tumble Engineers, at Kinzers, Pa., 12 years later in 1990.

This project centered on a very special engine the Avery which had been the personal property of Arthur Young, the founder of R&T. Young was a nationally known businessman whose son, Everett, was a second generation member of the organization. (Everett recently passed away; see Golden Roll, page 24.)

The Avery was in dire need of help, principally because its boiler long ago reached the point of no return.

The decision to restore the engine was made by members of R&T in 1978. No one could have known at the time that a dozen years would be required to complete the undertaking.

We have a complete record of the major steps taken, thanks to Roland Woodward, curator of the Rough & Tumble Museum and a member of the group that undertook the project.

First step on the long road was the facing of the need for plans for a new boiler. An estimate of $30,000 was received for the construction. Plans alone would cost $500, the group was informed. The $30,000 was too big a hurdle to jump at that time so only the plans were ordered, at $500.

In 1983 Otis Astle proposed the creation of a fund for the restoration, to be known as the 'Avery Fund.' The idea was presented at the annual meeting of R&T and accepted. Fred Taylor, of Chadds Ford, gave the first $100 to get it rolling.

For the next five years, 1983-1988, members conducted a search for a boiler. Obviously, it was not an easy task. Even though a boiler is far bigger than a needle, it was tougher than finding a needle in a bunch of haystacks. Yet the search went on.

Light broke when an ad appeared in IRON-MEN ALBUM in 1988, advertising an Avery boiler for sale. That raised hope, but the search was not ended. Roland Woodward telephoned Tom Terning of Valley Center, Kansas, to determine whether the advertised boiler would be satisfactory. Tom knew the R&T Avery and determined that the boiler in the ad would not be right for this engine.

However, and this is a big however, Tom knew of a boiler in Colorado that would be of the correct size. He was kind enough to make a trip to Colorado for an on-site inspection. He found it to be correct, and in nearly perfect condition.

Late in 1988, Tom was authorized to buy the boiler and transport it to his shop for refurbishing. Tom did all this and even more. On one of his trips east, in December 1988, he delivered the boiler to R&T at Kinzers.

Spring of 1989 saw the Avery chassis moved into the R&T shop for disassembly and restoration. Restoration was started shortly thereafter.

Taking part in the restoration, in the summer of 1990, were Otis Astle, John Railings, Everett Young, Buss Powell, Ernie Reynolds, Dan Gehman, Nevin Myer, and Dale and Scott Young.

In August of 1990, the Avery with its new boiler, and fully restored, was fired and proved to be satisfactory. From then on it was celebration time, and during the annual Reunion the Avery was dedicated in memory of Art Young to the Young family.

It was a long story with a happy ending.