ATTENTION: Engineers A Matter Of Time and Interest

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Col. Houston L. Herndon
Peerless portable owned by Bob Johnson and Walter Clement at the 1969 Florida Steam and Gas Engine Round-Up. We are looking for them back in 1970. Courtesy of Col. Houston L. Herndon, Box 5363, Sarasota, Florida 33579.

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.

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