SMOKSTAK Forum and ENGINADS Classifieds

"I was country when country wasn't cool."

Harry Matthews

I grew up in the 40s and 50s on a New York State country farm in Schuyler County with a John Deere LA, grapes, cherries, peaches, pears and a few chickens. At the age of two, I had this electrifying :O experience with a hairpin and a wall socket, so I've been into electronic things most of my life. I started my mechanical hobby by taking apart a Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engine in my high school years to see what was inside and to "fix" what was causing it to be a stubborn starter. (I found out that you had to put the rod bearing end cap back on in the same direction you took it off.) I also learned, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." 8( That David Bradley mower and Briggs engine lived on to 1995 with repairs (plus a few cuss words) made only by myself.

After college and marriage and while working at Oswego College, Jeannie and I bought an old country farm (1968) and called it home. It included an Allis Chalmers C and a John Deere GPO on steel, both "fixed" by myself. I used the C to keep the fields mowed and the GP to pull stumps or anything else I wanted pulled. Too bad I spent so much time and money on computers and ham radio then because I could have been collecting old gas enginesn! It's hard to get those hobbies sorted out when there are so many things to do.

There came a time (1979) when I decided to move and change jobs and I sold the John Deere GPO before I knew that other people collected this junk >:( and I sold my 1968 HEMI Charger R/T before I knew it would be a $1,000,000.00 collector car. :( The HEMI Engine was 426 cu. in., 425 horse power and lots of fun, only one of 800 made! These muscle cars were made before Ralph Nader and the government started designing automobiles for us. :(

More time passed and the antique engine bug bit in 1995 when I went to the Canandaigua show for the first time. It had been going on for years not far from us, but they called it a "Steam Pageant" and who the hell wants to go to a pageant :B anyway. It wasn't long after the show that I got word from a ham radio friend about a Witte engine that was for sale. If you've read my engine and show pages, you know where I went from there! :D

I am a Senior Life Member and Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer by the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), a Life Member of the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) and Life Member of the NRA. I'm an alumnus of Watkins Glen Central HS, Watkins Glen, NY and graduated from SUNY College of Technology (Electronic Communications) at Alfred, NY.

I am now retired from my job as Associate for Instructional Resources at SUNY Oswego after engineering their Satellite and Cable Television systems, smart classroom lecture hall systems, distance learning studios and video transmission systems. I was also the Chief Engineer of their WRVO radio broadcast station, in technical charge of building and developing its transmitting facilities over a 25-year period. Other career activities included working in Instrumentation at the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant, owner/operator of a computer store ('79 to '85) and working in broadcasting as video engineer at Channel 7 (ABC) WKBW Buffalo, New York and Channel 5 (CBS) WTVH Syracuse, New York.

Antique engines have followed me to Sarasota, Florida where my wife and I are at home and near our daughters and other relatives. Only one problem; there is never enough room to keep all the old engines that one collector "needs." :) PHOTOS

Time passes while we enjoy retirement and travel, having had a total of 50 years of summer travel across the USA starting with a 1968 Jeep CJ5 and a crank-up tent camper going west to Arizona and Colorado. We then graduated up through seven types of campers. Our last one was a Tiffin Allegro Open Road model 36LA. Over those years, we have visited every state and most all of the National Parks. That's also 50 years of added age so we are spinning down after all those years of summer travel to spend summers here at our home in Sarasota. For the last 24 years I have also occupied myself publishing the Smokstak and Enginads web sites for many thousands of readers.

"I was country when country wasn't cool."
(My Ford 2N tractor at Deer Ridge, Oswego) Tractors from Tug Hill and Deer Ridge. (My John Deere GP Orchard tractor at the Tug Hill farm, Oswego)

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Published by Harry Matthews, Inc. © 1995 - 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!