ROGERSVILLE James Watt couldn't have been more pleased when he first invented it than two 'old-timers' from over Pleasant Hill way are with their steam engine.
The two are Gene Goan, who actually owns the 1886 model ,and C. B. Arnott 'he's a life-long steam engine man.'
GETTIN' UP STEAM-C. B. Arnott, standing, and Gene Goan, Hawkins County farmers, brought their 1886 model steam engine to the Pleasant Hill Fair Saturday. Arnott is the engineer, Goan the fireman, when they run their antique for curious onlookers.
Arnott has been operating steam engines for 45 years on thrashers, saw milling, silo filling, shredding.
This particular engine has belonged to Goan for 40 years and he used it in pasteurizing milk in his plant which he ran for years, bottling milk and selling it from Persia to Morristown and Bulls Gap.
The two were running their steam engine full blast at the Pleasant Hill Community Fair Saturday, and all the youngsters were crowding around, watching them feed the monster with wood and building up steam, running it a little while. When they blew those whistles, fingers went into ears in a hurry. 'He's the engineer, I'm the fireman,' quipped Goan as he threw another slab of wood into the engine.
There were two whistles, the little one with its high, piercing scream that you could hear for miles, and the other one that had a throaty who-o-o that sounded like the Wabash Cannonball comin' round the bend.
But this engine is a little bitty fellow compared to ones that were used out West. This is a six-horse . . . out there they go to 140 horsepower,' said Goan. The Goan engine is supposed to get up to about 100 pounds of pressure.
This old engine ('we just set it up as an antique') was standing idle for 35 years 'til Goan assembled it again. It was a trip to the Ford Museum where Goan took his grandson that gave him the idea to put it back together again.
'They had every kind of a steam engine from the first ones made .... and they had one just like this,' Goan said.
'This is about as old a type as they had it runs vertical,' he continued.
And Arnott added a historical fact '1843 is as far back as steam engines go.
Arnott is 69, Goan is in his 70s, and they act like 'spring chickens' when they talk about their hobby.
'Why I wouldn't be afraid to climb on the biggest steam engine made and run it all day,' Arnott said.
And Goan summed it all up 'I'd rather fool with one of these steam engines than eat when I'm hungry!'