Naylor family shares their small engines

Gary Naylor

Photo by Clarke Davis
Gary Naylor, Topeka, operates the Fairbanks-Morse engine housed on the show grounds at Cottonwood Station. The 22-hp engine is on loan to the association by Doris Hurtig, widow of the late Rev. William “Bill” Hurtig.


by Clarke Davis
Antique engine enthusiasts make up a big part of the annual threshing bee show at Cottonwood Station near Meriden and none more so than Gary Naylor and his family.
Naylor operates the 22-hp Fairbanks-Morse engine housed on the show grounds. This gas-powered, one-cylinder engine once powered the grain elevator at Reading.
Naylor said he’s pretty sure that his father, who farmed in the Arvonia area near Reading, would have taken grain to that elevator in the days that this engine was employed in operating the facility.
This engine was owned by the late Rev. William “Bill” Hurtig and is on loan to the threshing association by his widow, Doris.
The Naylor family — wife, Susan, and daughters Rachel, Desiree, and Patricia — have a large display of their own engines, mostly 1 to 1 1/2 hp.
These engines were needed on the farm before the arrival of electricity and were popular in the 1930s and ’40s. They powered anything that one could attach a belt or gear to.
Naylor said pumping water was one of the most common needs. They had deep wells and the water had to be pumped to a cistern near the house.
They were also used for washing clothes and other domestic chores, also.
While stationed in England with the U.S. Air Force, he and Susan became interested in early-day engines.
“We went to a steam show and there must have been 150 steam engines,” he said.
Later, stationed in Virginia, he asked his father if he could brush the dust off an old engine he had stored in a shed. One thing led to another and pretty soon they were collectors of old engines.
He left a show at Ottawa recently with an engine he was pretty proud of, but it only lasted one day.
“My daughter Patricia informed me that she had to have it; so I lost that one,” he chuckled.
The Meriden Antique Engine & Threshers Association designated the Cushman as the engine of the year for its 39th annual show held last weekend. The Cushman Co. came into being in 1903 and developed engines that would power pumps, lawn mowers and boats.
The Naylor family has belonged to the association for eight years. Gary, now retired from the Air Force, is a private contractor supplying drones to the U.S. Army.

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Posted by on Jul 29 2015. Filed under Featured, The Vindicator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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