Engine and Tractor Shows
|Nationwide, people gather for an
afternoon here or a weekend there at antique engine, tractor, and
farming shows. The
Threshermens' Reunions, Old-Timers Days, Power of the Past Shows,
Heritage and Antique Machinery Festivals, Steam and Gas Shows... all of
them opportunities to connect for a while with our collective
past, perhaps find some needed parts or tools, catch up with old
friends and make new ones. Farm
Collector Show Directory
favorite displays are those where you can watch farming operations
being conducted as they would have been many years ago, using the
original equipment. The Girard family of Decatur, Indiana,
points west puts on a terrific show every year at the
Gas Engine and Tractor Show in Portland, Indiana.
Here's their 1910 double-barreled peanut washer,
powered by a nicely weathered Farmall M. Some
more photos from their 1998 demonstration.
Keck-Gonnerman steam tractor working out on
I don't know much about these machines, but they're sure awesome to
power and lots of work to run them. Just getting the belt up
the top of that pulley, eight or ten feet in the air, looks like it
real work, skill, patience, and maybe some luck.
Adams loading his 1928 John Deere D for the trip
home from Portland in 1997. Horsing that
big tractor, with its steel wheels and loose steering
linkage, onto a small trailer is not a task to be taken lightly.
Brice had generously let me drive the D for a while, and I
was amazed at how big it seems from the operator's seat. I'd always thought of
Ds as somewhat small tractors, since they aren't tall like the Farmall Ms and
John Deere As that I'm more familiar with. But once in the
operator's seat, way back and low down, with all that long, wide steel in front of
you, a John Deere D is a big
Steam Threshers Association show in July 2009, a
Minneapolis-Moline U pulled a McCormick-Deering grain
binder, cutting and binding wheat into bundles ready for
threshing. A crew with a horse-drawn wagon later
picked the bundles up and took them to the old Case
thresher, where the windstacker deposited a big pile of
straw for the kids to play in later. Also on the
entertainment schedule was a tug-of-war between a 1/2-scale
handbuilt steam tractor and all comers... even with some
adults helping the kids pull, that little engine definitely
Fairbanks-Morse 100-hp engine, one of
of the Portland show. The almost gentle,
low-frequency sound that stationary engines make, with their
"hit and miss" ignition cycles, appeals to me on a fundamental
It's sort of like the "Poppin'
rhythm--you can't help but like it. Here's a
sound clip of
this engine running (with several other stationary engines in
other end of the size scale at Portland that year
were these engines scratch-built by
Smithton, Pennsylvania. The large engine in the middle is an
engine: Because of the knee-action crank, it runs through all
combustion cycles in a single rotation of the crankshaft. The
wooden-armed engine on the right is a hot air engine, using the
pressure and vacuum in a heated and cooled cylinder to operate the
The source of heat is a small alcohol flame underneath the black tin
Deere 2-row corn
planter, on which Jack
Pace of Montpelier, Indiana mounted a 1927 McCormick Deering
1-1/2 hp engine and a Wheelhorse lawn-tractor transmission, so
can putt around on the thing. Sounds great to me.
The "Snoose Airline,"
Onsrud, of LaCrosse,
Wisconsin. A Hercules stationary engine makes the propellers
and the wings flap. Paul admonishes skeptical observers "not
at his airplane with that tone of voice."
||An outstanding collection of miniature, working
Deere L, Allis-Chalmers G, Farmall H, Cockshutt 20, and an Oliver
All were built by Bud Hengstler, Richard Etzkorn, and Bob Zink, of
Ohio, using their full-size tractors as
are 1/2 scale, except for the Allis G and JD L, which would have been
small at that scale.
of the photos here were from the show at Portland, which has
amazing variety and quantity of displays, parts vendors, crafts barns,
and activities. For several years it's been a
gathering place for
subscribers to Antique
Tractor Internet Service mailing lists. With
apologies to Clement Moore, here's
a little more about the show.
With a buzzsaw (above left) powered by Steve Sewell's
Minneapolis-Moline BF, and with a big sawmill powered by a steam
tractor. When the carriage slides those logs into
blade, it really makes the steam tractor
chuff. Below, some scenes from Portland 2008.