| January/February 1971

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure. If that's the case, I've got lots of treasure.'

Retired steel mill worker Frank Grooms grinned as he looked up from his cluttered workbench. He was cleaning the magneto from one of the 15 or 20 old internal combustion engines he has rescued from trash heaps.

In his compact little barn on a farm just west of Essex, O., Frank spends hours rebuilding machinery of the Pre-electrification Age an age that's gone but not entirely forgotten on our farms.

Prominent in the collection is a 32-volt Delco Light plant. Frank uncovered it and showed it to Roger Morley, member services director of his Co-op, Union Rural Electric. 'It did a lot for farmers in its day, but it sure can't hold a candle to the juice Union gives us today,' Frank said.

Roger scratched a few figures on his note pad. 'That Delco would light about a dozen 100-watt lightbulbs, or run an iron, or heat a hotplate but not all at once. It surely wouldn't satisfy farmers today. They're using about 775 kilowatt hours a month in the state now.'

A glance around Frank's barn reveals a wide range of things. The oldest, no doubt, is a wooden Groundhog thresher forerunner of the grain separator which was introduced by the Quakers in the 1840's. Then there's a 35-hp Worthington vertical stroke engine that stands six feet high. It once operated a 42-inch sawmill from one pulley and a cider press from another. In one corner is an old draught beer pump, a beautiful mechanism; and in another is a box of old auto parts Frank's trading material. 'I seldom buy or sell stuff, just trade, mainly,' he said. 'And if some part is missing, I get out my hammer, file and electric drill and make what I need.'


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.

Facebook Pinterest YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265