If A Little Kid Asks To Help, Give Him a Break!

| January/February 1993

1288 Lexington Ave. Winfield, Iowa 52659

I am a senior in agricultural engineering at Iowa State and am 22 years old. I caught sight of a steam traction engine for the first time when I was about eight years old at the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Show, and have been fascinated by those engines ever since. We had a book about the Old Threshers Reunion in the grade school library and I remember staring at the pictures for hours at a time, especially those of the model engines. I would often ask engine operators at the show if I could help, but more often than not they said that they already had plenty of help and would not need me.

When I was 14 years old, I heard about a fellow who lived a few miles from us and had some old gas engines. Using the directions given from a neighbor, I set out on my motorbike for his farm, not knowing that that day would be a great turning point in my life.

My eyes popped wide open when I saw that he owned not only a few old gas engines, but also a 1/3 scale Case. I soon forgot about those gas engines that I had come to see, and started asking questions about the model.

He told me about how he had just bought it a year or so earlier, and how he just got done replacing a chain drive with gears out of the corncrib. There were many other things he explained, which I soaked up like a sponge!

Never before had anyone been so willing to explain a steam engine to me. He talked about a big engine he had, or something, but my fascination and concentration were solely on the model Case.