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Local man enjoys historic engines hobby

August 31, 2017
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

One local man who will have a collection of stationary engines on display at this year's Canfield Fair is Matt Pickens of Lowelville. Pickens is a farmer who also operates a farm in Boardman Township.

"Both my wife, Amy, and I come from farm families," Pickens said. "Our parents had brought us to the fair since we first learned to walk and we always loved the antique equipment area."

Six years ago, Pickens joined the army of collectors when he bought his first stationary engine. His first engine is a 1919 Witte. Over the past few years, his collection has grown to 12 pieces including a corn husker and burr grinder to be used with the engines.

The stationary engines are set up on wood skids or are wheeled in on trailers. They are set to operate a variety of equipment from water pumps to washing machines and popcorn makers.

Collectors come to the fair to show their equipment in action. For collectors, it offers a place to sit in the shade of a tent and share stories with each other and with fair-goers.

"You might say this is our home away from home during fair week," Amy said.

Pickens also has a small collection of tractors, with the oldest being a Model T Ford with a Sears and Roebuck conversion kit added. He said Sears sold the kit to fit a Ford Model T and convert it into a farm tractor. He hopes to have it ready for a future fair.

Pickens also lends a hand to Shawn Watson, director of the oil field display at the antique tractor area. The display includes working engines that are showing what it was like to drill for oil on the early 1900s.

For Pickens, it is all part of a bigger purpose, one that he gladly embraces.

"It is all about being able to educate the community on its connection to the past and how far technology has come in a very short time," Pickens said. "It is important that people stay involved in this hobby to keep it and history alive."

 
 

 

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