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Lifestyle

Haish engine returns home

Nearly 100 years and 4,800 miles later, the Chanticleer is home. The 9 hp antique gas engine - part of Jacob Haish's Chanticleer line manufactured about 1910 - recently made the long journey from California back to DeKalb. Haish, a famous past DeKalb resident known for his philanthropy and the development of barbed wire, also was a prominent developer, inventor and manufacturer of other farm-related equipment. Although Haish died 81 years ago in 1926, his presence is still felt in places like the Jacob Haish Public Library and through trust money used to help build the emergency department at the new Kishwaukee Community Hospital - fulfilling a wish he financially entrusted before his death. Additionally, while not still used in active farming, equipment Haish manufactured in some cases 100 years ago is still operational. Jeff Marshall, a DeKalb resident and avid collector of historic Haish items, located the Chanticleer engine in northern California last summer. As Haish's third-great-nephew, Marshall has been compiling an extensive collection of advertisements, fencing equipment, barbed wire variations and gas engines from the &#8220Chanticleer” line. Another of Marshall's Haish Chanticleer engines, a 4 hp, was featured on a float in last year's DeKalb Sesquicentennial parade, sponsored by the Glidden Homestead & Historical Center and DeKalb Public Library. Marshall is a member of the Glidden Homestead board of directors. Marshall is always diligently on the search for other Haish equipment to add to his collection. Upon locating the available 9 hp Haish engine in northern California, he made arrangements to bring it back home to DeKalb. He found the engine through a photograph in a magazine published for collectors of historic farm equipment. This engine produces nine horsepower at 325 rpm and weighs about 2,800 pounds. In comparison, an average 9 hp modern Briggs & Stratton engine idles at more than 1,500 rpm and weighs less than 100 pounds. The engine's previous owner told Marshall he had heard stories that it once was used to power a stationary hay press, the forerunner to the modern hay baler. Although records for Haish's business were mostly lost, it seems likely that in 1910, the engine would have been transported to California on two different rail lines, due to its tremendous weight and the mountain ranges it had to cross. The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad would have transported it to Omaha, Neb., where it would have been loaded on a Union Pacific rail car bound for California. For the engine's return trip in January, it traveled the 2,400 miles to DeKalb on a trailer being pulled by Marshall's truck, probably its first time home since being rolled off Haish's factory floor almost 100 years ago. Winter conditions made for a somewhat adventurous trip. Although Interstate 80 provides a relatively straight shot out to California from northern Illinois, Marshall said the winter months necessitated being conscious of the weather and scheduling travel accordingly. While crossing Wyoming, for example, temperatures registered at 25-degrees-below-zero or colder in some places. Marshall also experienced slight delays during his 10-day trip due to quickly developing snowstorms that caused temporary closure of Interstate highways. Such road closures are a common occurrence in many Western regions. States like Wyoming and Nevada do not have budgets to salt down icy roadways in the manner northern Illinois residents have come to take for granted. Western states instead opt to temporarily close dangerous sections of mountainous roads, until they can be cleared and spread with a light layer of sand used as a friction-type aggregate. The Haish engine safely crossed over California's Sierra Nevada Mountain Range near Lake Tahoe, Calif., and the Rocky Mountain Range in southern Wyoming. The highest point along the entire Interstate 80 system lies on the Continental Divide in southern Wyoming at about 7,000 feet above sea level. In addition to collecting Haish items, Marshall also is working to develop a Web site to serve as a resource for other collectors and to share Haish history.

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