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Next year, 2000, also marks thirty years since ye olde Reflector
first began serious research work on this history of engines and
tractors. We had been collecting this material for several years,
but finally decided to begin our first book, Power in the Past:
A History of Gas Engine & Tractor Builders in Iowa. Much
of the encouragement came from longtime friends, including Andy
Kruse, Lester Roos, Wilfred Abels, Harold Ottaway, Verne Kindschi,
and Preston Foster. In fact, Preston Foster was a great help on
that first book, and for compensation he asked for and got the very
first copy of that first book!
We also recall giving great thought in those early days of
whether we should part with $5 for a beautiful Rumely OilPull
catalog. We finally parted with the $5. Then there was the fellow
that came to a show in the late 1960s with a rickety old station
wagon, the back of which was loaded with hundreds of steam and gas
catalogs, along with a great many Gas Review and Gas Power
magazines. We finally ended up with all these, 120 total, for
$60, or 50? an issue! We would dearly have loved buying the whole
schmear, but after spending $60 there was barely enough gas money
with which to drive home!
As we go into the winter (engine rebuilding) season, we are
reminded of a few tools we would like to add to the shop.
Ironically, we were spending some time one evening reading through
a German book of proverbs and sayings back in the 1840s. As we
flipped through the pages, the saying, 'Schlechtes Zeug macht
schlechte Arbeit.' Loosely translated it means, 'Poor tools
make for poor work.' We would guess that applies to almost any
kind of work, but it sure is nice to work with nice tools! Perhaps
some nice new ones might come in your Christmas stocking this year.
We sure hope so!
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