Friday, January 04, 2008

Engine appreciation

Many years ago, when our world was young, my late husband owned a small hand generator. Work the crank and you produced a smidgen of electricity; work it very hard and you could light a low wattage bulb. It proved a very interesting object lesson for verbal-type folk with a mouthful of back to the land talk. Most had absolutely no knowledge of how hard people had to work in the G.O.D. (Good Old Days.)

Thus I can only applaud modern-day collectors of old engines and other "antiques of the industrial revolution," as one afficienado put it. Another reminded readers that "by the turn of the 20th century, nearly every city big enough to have an iron foundry and machining facilities had someone building engines. Hundreds, if not thousands, of engine manufacturers sprang up all over the civilized world. These engines were a boon to farmers and industrialists alike. The farmer with the purchase of just one small engine could now run his cream separator, wood saw, butter churn, corn sheller, feed grinder, gristmill and pump water. Everything from small shops to factories could be run on engines now." Today, simple wall outlets give the average householder more power than those farmers or industrialists could have dreamed of.

Reason enough that more moderns should attend a show put on by old engine collectors; they might up their appreciation and understanding. Even when the machine in question (above) is a gag incorporating as many gears as possible.

Example: a cement mixer from an earlier day. On display during the antique and classic auto show last summer out at Watson Lake Park.

This 1919 Economy engine was powering a battery charger...

...while the engine above operated a can crusher...

...and the unit above powered a light bulb.

Yet another old machine, lovingly de-rusted and painted to look like new.

Here a poster at the late lamented Young's Farm reminding visitors of the works of John Deere.

Out at the Skull Valley Historical Society Museum, I saw this totally unrestored collection of parts and didn't read the sign while I was there, so no data on whether it came from the railroad, the mines or a ranch.

Another bit of machine beef -- the antique tow truck you might see around town, especially at car shows. This vehicle can still earn its living, according to the owner. If old engines interest you, there's always the Sharlot Hall Museum, with a collection of old mining machinery on display up in the main parking lot. They are powered up once a year during the Territorial Days celebration.

Blog Roaming: I had heard earlier in the day that a big mountain lion had been hit on the highway up near Ashfork. Now I've seen the pictures -- over at Prescott Style, who also has some neat footage of Grapevine Springs, presumably coming off Big Bug Mesa.


sheoflittlebrain said...

The Good Old Days:)
Just what I've been thinking about! I just finished my once every ten year read of A.B. Guthrie's "The Way West," and as always am haunted by the thought of all those hard, hard working people! How did they do it?
Those rudimentary engines must have been a Godsend to them!
Great post, GJ

Granny J said...

brain -- as a journalist, I look with awe and wonder on the printing machines that I now own, taking up a small bit of space in my office. It wasn't always that way, oh no! We are standing on the shoulders of hard working giants -- and hard working machinery. We should never be allowed to forget that!

Lucy said...

Love that 'gear and tackle and trim'!

Granny J said...

Lucy -- One of my neighbors is into old gear. Periodically, I hear one of his engines put-putting away. Maybe he'll let me take pix someday.

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