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Orrin B. and Catherine M. Iseminger

Orrin B. and Catherine M. Iseminger EDGETA Branch 54

For years Orrin and Cathy have been the “back bone” of Branch 54 and deserve Hall of Fame recognition as a couple.

A little history of Branch 54 is in order to explain the significant contributions that Orrin and Cathy have made. Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club was established in 1978 as Branch 7 of EDGETA and members were mostly from Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington. Over time the original membership aged and Branch 7 became inactive sometime in the 80s. In 1992 a couple of the original club members started efforts to revive the club. An impromptu meeting was called and with a small nucleus of interested individuals the club became active again as Branch 54. John Gortsema, an original member of Branch 7, was elected president and served until 1998. John convinced Orrin to run for president and the rest is history, so-to-speak. He was president from 1999 through 2001. Orrin and Cathy provided the leadership necessary to expand and improve the club. Under the leadership membership increased and new members came from all three NW state: Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Currently Branch 54 has 217 members and is firmly established in EDGETA. Orrin and Cathy get the “lion’s-share” of credit for this.

By profession, Orrin is an electrical engineer. He grew up in South Dakota, raised by an aunt and uncle, and was a little brother to several cousins. Growing up on a farm he was introduced to farm equipment at an early age and developed a deep appreciation for all things mechanical. Cathy was originally from California. We are not quite sure how they met, but they did and they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Most of all they are best friends.

Orrin’s last professional job was the Army Corps of Engineers. He was the electrical engineer for the Lower Granite Lock and Dam, one of a series of hydroelectric dams on the Snake River. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Granite_Lock_and_Dam). Cathy was a professional secretary for the Washington State University KWSU public radio station.

Orrin and Cathy’s service to Branch 54 didn’t end when his 3-year term as president ended. He continued to serve on the Board of Directors and editor of the club newsletter, a quarterly publication that he named THE LUBRICATOR. There is little doubt but what the quality of this publication has played a significant role in the growth and success of the club. Orrin and Cathy work side-by-side to assemble, print and mail out the newsletter.

Cathy has served on the club board of directors and is currently the vice-president. In addition Cathy has been in charge of the club’s pedal tractor raffle for many years. This project supports the club’s academic scholarship program where high school senior FFA members, with interest in machinery, are eligible for college scholarship support. It is not unusual for Cathy to camp out 4 or 5 days in a row at shows and fairs to sell raffle tickets. Before she retired in 2008, she would take annual vacation leave to sell raffle tickets. Further, she initiated a food drive program that she carries out at quarterly meetings. Donations go to local food banks.

The Isemingers have an impressive collection of “old iron”; an Allis Chalmers tractor, stationary engines, model A Ford cars and truck, model engines and a steam engine. Everything in their collection either has been restored to perfection or soon will be. Orrin is a self-taught machinist and the work he turns out in his shop is exceptional in quality. He and Cathy regularly attend and participate in GEARS (Gas Engine Antique Reproduction Show) in the Portland Oregon area (http://www.oregongears.org/).

Orrin and Cathy each have their favorite stationary gas engine. Having grown up in South Dakota near the town of Canton, it is predictable that Orrin’s favorite is a Knowlton engine. Canton was the home of Jeff Knowlton, a farmer and blacksmith. Knowlton claimed to have conceived the hopper-cooled design in 1904. He took his design idea to Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in Waterloo, Iowa, to have some castings made. The Waterloo people were extremely interested in his design and this resulted in an unusual agreement. Kowlton would get his castings at a very reasonable cost and Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company could use his design. Knowlton engines are almost identical to Waterloo Boy models (reference American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 by C. H. Wendel). Well, knowing all of this history, Orrin wanted a Knowlton engine in his collection. A few years ago he had the opportunity to buy one and it is now his pride and joy. This probably also helps explain his interest in Waterloo Boy engines. There is no doubt he is an expert on Knowlton engines.

Cathy’s favorite engine is a Jaeger (made by Hercules). Cathy and Orrin went to great lengths to obtain this engine. Cathy proudly displays her powder blue engine at shows and fairs. Her favorite part is starting the engine-much to the amazement of men looking on.

In addition to all the other functions Orrin performs for Branch 54, he is the web-master and maintains the club’s website: http://users.moscow.com/oiseming/lc_ant_p/index.htm. Please visit it to learn more about Branch 54 and Orrin and Cathy They are always willing to lend a helping hand to any club member that needs help/advice.

Further, Orrin and Cathy maintain memberships in other clubs and organizations to include: The Inland Empire Steam & Gas Buffs (Branch 197 of EDGETA located in Spokane, Washington), and the Lewiston, Idaho Cranker Club. Plus Orrin finds time to perform in a Barbershop Quartet called — Four Names in a Hat.

The Isemingers are strong supporters of EDGETA as evidenced by the information presented in this application. They participate in two EDGETA clubs, branches 54 and 197, and they attend Regional and National Shows when driving distance is reasonable.

It would be difficult to imagine another couple more deserving of EDGETA Hall of Fame selection.