Old Timers Days XENIA, OHIO

Ken Butterworth
February/March 2000
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1 HP Domestic, 1911
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On the weekend of September 24, 25, and 26, the temperature varied from 55 degrees in the early morning to 86 degrees in the late afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. We had low humidity on all three days. It is so very dry. The weather was great for the meeting of many people interested in old machinery, tractors, engines, horses, mules, donkeys and food galore

I drove to Xenia, Ohio, a 24-mile trip, with my 1? HP John Deere series E engine, 1951 LUC John Deere combine engine, and a 1979 John Deere garden tractor on Wednesday evening. I arrived at 4:00 p.m. I found over 150 tractors already present. I unloaded my John Deeres and then began to look things over. I looked at them for two hours. I was really impressed. At 6:30 p.m. everybody was asked go come to the office for homemade ice cream and cake. The Old Timers and their wives really put on a real feed. Every single person was invited. The food was all free to everybody.

On Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. I went to the fairgrounds to see all the tractors and engines. It was really fun watching the many people unload their favorite equipment, very impressive. I spent hours of enjoyable time watching people bring their trucks, trailers and their own specific worldly possessions to the Old Timers show.

Friday, September 24, I personally counted 220 tractors, 90 garden tractors, 120 engines. There were also a 1944 Rosenthal shredder, 1944 Huber thresher, one silo cutter, 1923 Birdsell clover huller, 5/8 scale Rumely steam engine, and they were still coming in every few minutes. Lots of people do not come in until Friday because of their work schedule.

All three days, Russell Luse and his crew shredded corn, filled silo, hulled clover seed and threshed wheat. They also shelled and ground corn after the shredding process. Each day somebody else would belt their tractor to the different machines. One particular day a 5/8 scale of 1912 20-60 Rumely steam engine was used to power the thresher. Everyone was interested in the power generated by the use of wood and coal to produce steam to power the thresher.

Bill Finkbone had his portable saw mill working all three days. Each day a different tractor was used to saw the wood. The person supplying the trees got his wood sawed into 1 x 4s and other appropriate sizes. A rather large pile of lumber was piled in neat piles by the end of the three days.

From Wednesday through Sunday evening the ice cream crew was busy making homemade ice cream in five gallon ice cream makers. Each ice cream maker was powered by a small gas engine. It was really neat to see people watching to see the ice cream being made.

The Old Timers had a horse, mule and donkey show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They were busy each day working and showing their animals. It was fun to see the animals perform. They were great.

The flea market and craft show was well represented. The fairgrounds was crawling with people looking at the various crafts and items for sale. There was something for everybody.

The featured attraction was Oliver tractors. One particular caught my eye. It was a 1957 Oliver 99, with a GMC diesel and a chrome grill. It was made for the world plowing contest in September 1957, held in Peebles, Ohio. The farmer said he would buy the tractor as is. The Oliver dealer said yes. Now the fourth generation is still using the tractor on the same farm with the same family. It was in really good shape. Every model of Oliver was present: 55, 66, 77, 88, 99, some newer models, and some really old models.

John Deere tractors were the most numerous, from the huge 830 to a small BR John Deere. I believe every tractor make was present. I know the following were represented. Allis Chalmers, Cockshutt, Oliver, John Deere, Ford, Massey Harris, Massey Ferguson, International Harvester, McCormick Deering, Caterpillar, Minneapolis Moline, Case, Ferguson, Huber. If I left some out I am sorry, but 1 think my inventory is accurate. Over 300 tractors were finally shown at the show.

In a special tent were some valuable displays. A 1916 International tractor was on display, along with pedal tractors, model tractors made of wood, a working steam display, buggies, and a horse-drawn sleigh.

The garden tractor display was well represented. I know over 145 tractors, roto tillers and other small items were shown. One gentleman had a great display of John Deere patio tractors in their original colors. They all ran to perfection in their restored painted condition.

The featured engine was the Domestic, made in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. They included a 1909 1 HP, 1911 1? HP, 4 HP, 1910 2 HP, 1917 3 HP, 1912 1? HP stovepipe Domestic. These engines were owned by Bill Jones and Walt Saylor of Beavercreek, Ohio. Bill and Walt drove all night to a sale in Pennsylvania to purchase the 1 HP Domestic. The engines were all lined up, all running in their work clothes.

Wilbur and Scott Barnett have their display of 1898 Red Cross windmill working. They have a squirrel cage fan blowing the windmill to show how it worked.

A gentleman had made a replica of a John Deere 9500 combine. He had a 22 HP diesel Kabota engine inside, with power steering. This was really neat driving in the parade.

I sheared 15 sheep for those interested people. The sheep had not been shorn for one year. They were covered with cockle burrs. The wool will be worth nothing, since the wool market has disappeared. Ohio wool is worth nothing at this time.

Bigger is not always better, but the Old Timers had the largest display of so many different attractions that I believe nobody could go away discouraged. The cost was $2.00; Friday was senior citizen day for half price or $1.00.

If you are in southern Ohio the last weekend of September 2000, please come to Xenia. Green County Fairgrounds and you will be impressed.


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