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Joe Fahnestock
Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Box 47, Union City, Indiana. Heath (two-ton Tony) Paulin uses 12 hp Gaar-Scott as aerial for his T-V entertainment. Pictured is Tony Paulin in his private 'boudoir', towel draped over engine wheel, cider jug, wash-pan

Daily News Feature Writer and Radio’s ‘Joe’s

It was hefty, beetle-browed (Two-ton) ‘Tony’ Paulin,
tuning his television set as he basked in the lengthening shadows
of the sylvan foliage at the Darke County, Ohio, woods, after the
big threshermen’s show was over. His full three days of being
water boy, fire-stoker, extra engineer and head man of the
left-handed monkey-wrench brigade and just drawn to a close. The
hubbub of the smoke-bel-chin’, steam-engine tooting,
grain-separating, straw-stack blowing Darke county
threshermen’s reunion had come to a glorious, ear-splitting
finale. The crowds had gone home, the engines had cooled and there
was Two-ton Tony, all alone with his television set and a 12 Hp
Gaar-Scott Steam Engine as his only aerial.

‘What a innovation, using a steam threshing engine for a
television aerial,’ said I, loud enough for Tony to hear me.
‘That engine certainly wasn’t made originally to serve as
an aerial for T-V, was it?’

‘Nope it wasn’t,’ chortled Tony, whirling the dials
to his favorite evening T-V western, smugly ensconced among his
cider jug, wash pan, and sundry other accoutrements of camp life
while, overhead, the big, black engine smokestack spiraled the
smoke of dying embers skyward

He’s always the first guy to arrive and the last to leave at
the Darke County Threshing Reunion, or at the Elmer Egbert Buckeye
Reunion (both in western Ohio). For Tony, better known as Heath
Paulin to his inner circle cronies, is always the ‘left-handed
monkey wrench’ doing’ the right-handed job of any engineer
that happens to be elsewhere when something’s to be done and
Tony’s there to do it. Can we make ourselves a little clearer
by saying that Tony Paulin, like Rube Goldberg, is always where
pistons are flying and wheels a-whirring and the smoke’s the
thickest tightening a bolt here with his big pipe wrench, dropping
pin on a wagon tongue there, serving as engineer on a 2-horse
upright steam engine belted to the cider press, or pumping water
into the big water wagon down by the ‘crick’. And when, and
if his work-a-day ever ends, come eventide, there’s Tony Paulin
either listening to his favorite T-V program, wired to a
sputtering, dying steam engine for aerial, or shuffling cards for a
round of euchre with his 86 year-old Mommy who goes along to enjoy
the outdoor camp life.

If the swashbuckling, buxom, but good-natured bettle-browed
Heath Paulin looks every inch a steam engineer, it comes naturally.
For him those years of smelling coal smoke and dodging the
cow-catchers of the old Dayton & Union locomotives while on the
track-laying, weed-pulling gang, or his hitch with the Pennsylvania
Railroad have left their mark. And the stories he can swap
’round an old caboose pot-belly stove, on a winter’s night,
of the hair-raising happenings on the PRR high-iron or the
weed-patch run of the old D & U have already become legends of
classical proportions.

‘Never forget the time I had raided a paw-paw patch
‘longside the D & U tracks near Gordon,’ reminisces
Tony ”Had several gunny-sacks full of ’em ripe ‘n
jucy. But by the time I arrived on my little hand-car at
Greenville, the track-gang along the way had robbed those
gunny-sacks empty.’

Or the time that Tony was heading east toward Greenville on an
inspection tour of track and weeds from Union City and that
new-fangled diesel locomotive sneaked around the curve, westbound,
heading straight for him.

‘Couldn’t see that blasted diesel coming no smoke
warning like the steamers,’ says Tony. ‘Boy did ol Tony
ever jump off that old hand-car of his and head for the tall weeds.
Didn’t have time to remove my car from the rails. But boy did I
ever tell those fellows off when I got back to the depot. They had
promised there was to be no train that day.’

Or the time that Tony was working with the weed-pullin’ gang
enrout from Union City to Greenville, demonstrating his
‘specially patented ‘Bush-Whacker’ weed chopper that
he’d invented in his back-shop and fashioned from an old steel
saw-blade. ‘Better hide it. or the company will spot it and
claim the patent rights,’ cautioned the section boss to the
fertile-brained Tony Paulin.

Besides his preoccupation with sundry old antique gas engines
the versatile Tony Paulin did a hitch at repairing old-time radios
in the early days of crystal cat-whiskers, WD-11 and WD-12 tubes
vintage of the goose-neck, tin-horn loudspeaker and headphone

And now that he’s retired from the B & O rostrum, big
Heath Paulin still is ‘invited’ by the boys to now and then
sneak a ‘free ride.’ in the cab of a railroad locomotive
enroute between Greenville and the Gem City of Dayton, Ohio.
Unless, of course, one of the straw-bosses happens to spy him and
nudge him in his belly asking him, ‘Tony have you paid for your
‘passenger ticket’?’

We expose our sparse locks to the hot rays of the sun by doffing
our ‘stiff- katy’ to you, Tony, for being the first to
successfully bridge the old with the new by hooking up a steam
engine and a T-V for your evening’s entertainment. But, pray
tell us. how in the world are you going to drag that 12 HP Gaar
Scott around with you as your portable television aerial?

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment