This Is the Story of How I Became A STEAM ENGINE OWNER


| September/October 1995



Engine

Belted to Baker Fan in summer '93 (at my home).

Box 3100 Findley Road Farmersville Station, NY 14060

I started out collecting gas engines. In 1986 my father bought a 5 HP Hercules from my aunt for $20.00. One thing led to another and by the winter of '92 we owned over 60 gas engines. They ranged from a Maytag up to a 3-ton, 20 HP Cooper-Bessemer.

In the spring of '91 I became good friends with Brad Vosburg of Centerville, New York. He used a stationary boiler to boil sap for making maple syrup. He let me fire the boiler some. I had never even touched a boiler before this; it was a good experience that led to a lot more.

When sugaring was over in mid-April and the spring work was caught up, it was time to play. Out came the traction engines from winter storage. First a 1923 65 HP Case, and then a 1909 45 HP Case. That summer I learned a lot from Brad and his dad, 89-year-old Wellington. By fall they let me run the levers occasionally. Pretty good for not ever touching a boiler some five to six months earlier.

In the spring of '92 the thought of owning an engine was a far-off dream of mine. I guess other people thought differently. It was the first week in July when a good friend, Tom Rich, called Brad. He told him there was a 65 HP Case for sale. It would be at the Chemung Valley Old Timers Show in Horseheads, New York, the following weekend. They thought I should go look at it. On Saturday morning Brad, Gwen (his daughter) and I headed for Horseheads. Tom Rich was operating the engine, as the owner was not there. He let me run it the better part of the day. By the time we left I had decided it would be a good investment.

The first of the week I was on the phone to the owner. After a lot of talking, the owner decided he really didn't want to part with the engine. I thought my dream was gone, as there are not a lot of engines for sale.