10 Country: Frank’s Music Machines - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Frank’s Music Machines

Frank Lynch Frank Lynch

June 10, 2003 

Cook County, GA--  Long before compact disk players and earphones, some people like to listen to loud sounds with unusual rhythms.

A gentle turn of a metal wheel creates music for Frank Lynch. “Most folks have never really seen these,” he says. Much less listened to an old popper engine for very long.

He has 12 of what you could call music machines, and he's working on more. “From pure rust to running in bad shape,” he described hie pieces. His oldest dates back to 1902, and he wasn’t even born when his hit-and-miss engines were popular. “They are about twice as old as me,” he laughs.

Back in the early 30's before electricity made its way throughout the country, a lot of washing machines were powered by very small gasoline engines. “Maytag washing machines came with two-cycle engines,” Frank said.

The engines powered a variety of machines besides washers. One cuts trees, a forerunner of the chain saw. Another one powered a John Deere cement mixer, using a chain to transfer power from the engine to the mixer. It still runs like brand new, even with a piece of bailing wire for a spark plug wire.

The old engine collector often finds them at tractor shows, but Frank finds it harder and harder to keep them running. “There are very few parts you can buy for them.” His mechanical talent makes an old part at least functional. “Lots of time you work on your own parts weld them up or grind them back.”

He takes time to appreciate his engines, sitting and listening to one he brought back from the junk heap. “There’s something called pipe music. Listen to the exhaust of the engines.” Something he loves to do.

The engines have distinctive sounds.  A Novo engine, that needs to have the oil turned on, sounds much like a sneeze when it runs. A John Deere sounds as if it’s on its last legs, only to keep running somehow.

The simple engines were simple for a practical reason. “To have something you could work on and use,” says Frank, and listen to.  Proving music is in the ears of the beholder.

posted at 9:00AM by dave.miller@walb.com

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