Hyattstown, Box 144-D, R. F. D., Ijamsville, Maryland 21754 would get the model. This would be fine, except the price was completely out of reason. Here we have the type of person who is only interested in the dollar, not the future of the hobby.
I have had many people write and tell me the same thing happened when they inquired into an ad. I, myself, had a similar experience this past summer. I was offered a collection of antiques, the owner of which wanted them to be in the hands of a responsible young engineer. This, at first, seemed fine until I found out the cost of this collection which would be a good deal for me to put out. Before spending such a large sum of money, I consulted several friends who have been in the hobby a lot longer than I have and knew the value of antiques. I was told not to take this collection unless the owners were willing to give them away, as the collection would be a white elephant which the storage costs of would be considerable for me to put out. I was told that if anyone was really interested in seeing their antiques in the hands of a responsible young person, they should be willing to give them away, considering their financial loss as a contribution to the future of the hobby.
Many people are afraid to give an antique away or sell it at a price the buyer can afford, because the buyer might turn around and sell it for a big price. This problem is easily solved. If you have an engine or some antique that you wish to sell or give away, have an agreement written up that it may never be sold for more than scrap metal value, or whatever price you fix on it. And that all future owners of it must sign the same agreement. A copy of this agreement would be filed in the records of your local club. This way the club would make sure that all future owners would keep the agreement. This would be something like filing a deed to a piece of property.
This would also help the hobby by making it impossible for those people who buy engines and antiques just to make a big profit. Of course, it would take the majority of engine and antique owners to make this plan work. Otherwise, our hobby will become a rich man's hobby, and, of course, it will force out most of the people who, like the founders of our hobby, are just steam buffs. It would be a shame to think that our hobby, which was founded and built up by the average steam buff, become for the rich only. It has to be for everyone. Now is the time for young and old, rich and poor to work together so that we can all enjoy the hobby and have it for future generations.
I have heard it said by many steam engineers that when they pass on they are willing their engines to a club or a museum. I have talked to many well-to-do people who are gathering up engines to start their own museum, or will them to some museum. Up to now this has been considered a fine thing to do. Most of the people who think this way believe that the hobby will pass on when they they do. They fell that by preserving their engines in museums future generations will be able to see the engine that helped build our country up. But this is very wrong.
I have been to many museums where there were steam engines on display. I have been disgusted at times by the remarks made by other visitors. Such as, 'I bet it took all of its power to move itself,' or 'I don't see how people got any work done with those clumsy old engines.' Or a father might say to his son after seeing the 20 hp. rating on the side of the engine, 'Our garden tractor has more power than that has.'
One half of the people in our country are under 25, and having never seen these engines before, think they are just funny old relics. But if they could see them in operation they would change their tune. It would be a disgrace to the memory of the men who designed and built these machines to have their creations become funny old relics in a museum or to just be appreciated by the few who come to the shows.
We have to educate the young people in America as to what their heritage is. Part of their heritage is the steam engine, without it what would we have now? The finest thing a person could do is to see that all engines are kept operating and that the engines that are headed for museums and steam clubs be put into the hands of young engineers. In fact, anyone who would give a steam engine a good home. I know of several collections of steam engines that are headed for museums or clubs when their owners pass on. I believe that private ownership of these engines, along with the steam shows will educate the general public in the best way.
Think about it this way: a man who owns an engine, steams it up every now and then in his backyard, and pretty soon all the neighbors come to see what's going on. And before you know it, you have a small steam show in a man's backyard every time he fires his engine. Of course, he will take his engines to his local shows once a year. This way more people can learn about the hobby. The more young people who own engines across our country, the more popular it will become to appreciate our steam heritage.
It is far better to have wide spread ownership of engines by individuals, than having large numbers of them in a few places. I would hope that people who have large collections of engines would, in time, distribute their collections to the general public of young steam engineers, so that the fascination of the steam engine will be with us for generations to come. I think that this would be the greatest tribute to the memory of the men who designed and built these engines and the steam engine itself.