SEAMS News Archives

My time with Stationary Engines Part 2

by Ian Sampson

During the early 1970’s engines came very quickly, I built up to over 40! I had a mate Rob, who was a sales rep for Harper & Eede in Lewes and therefore his job was going to all the local farms in the area, so as he was collecting engines he would ask the farmers if they had any old items on their farm. His works van was a Daf 33 which was a small van and as some will know was one of those with large rubber bands as their drive. This was ok for small engines but if they did not fit into his van he knew it would go into mine, so I would get a phone call and at the weekend of we went to collect.

In 1975 I got married and some of the engines were sold to buy items for the house. One trip to collect an engine was to Yorkshire. Graham, another of my mates had bought an engine seen in an advert in the paper, so one Friday three of us went up to Windsor to stay with Graham. Early next morning four of us crammed into the front of a Transit pick up that he had borrowed from the local coal merchants. We drove taking turns to drive and late in the day we turned of the main road to go across the North Yorkshire moors. We found the small village and the man selling the engine. The engine was a Blackstone size but I don’t remember what as it was dark by then. We had arranged to stay in the man’s house and had taken sleeping bags. Next morning after breakfast we found that the engine had been lifted up on a pile of sleepers, so with five of us we soon had it on the truck and set off for our return trip.

A show I did with a few friends was at Syon Park. We arrived on the Friday evening and set up our tents, unloaded engines and after some lunch and a few pints we settled down. After a little while we noticed Rob was missing, he came back a bit later and when asked where he had been he said not much, but later in the night we soon found out he had laid a line of rook scarer’s around the seats that had been placed around the arena so every hour or so there was a loud bang as they went off. We were not very pleased and the rest of the campers weren’t either !

Another show was in Denne Park in Horsham. Rob had said he would bring a tent, so as he had to come from Ringmer after work, he turned up at dusk. The tent turned out to be a small marquee! We could not see very well as it was getting dark so Rob said he would unload his engine as he had a generator attached which he soon got working and so we had light. After about ten minutes the lights went out and the engine stopped. What had happened was that the flywheel key had come out and the flywheel had come off. We then spent the next ten minutes looking for the flywheel key and then finish off erecting the small marquee before setting up ourselves in the marquee. To be continued…. Ian