2016 SIAM Classic Iron Show

So much iron, so little time at the Southern Indiana's Antique & Machinery Club's Classic Iron Show.

By Glenn Miller


October/November 2016

iron show

The Hercules Gas Engine Co. factory in Evansville, Indiana, as it looks today. The casting furnace cupola is still visible on the roof.

Photo by Glenn Miller

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Speaking of time, this past June 10-12, 2016, was time for the Southern Indiana’s Antique & Machinery Club to present the Classic Iron Show, in Evansville, Indiana. The show again was blessed with a record turnout along with beautiful weather. This year’s event featured Case, Farmall and International tractors, and also the Lawn & Garden Tractor Extravaganza, which included some 400-plus-or-minus garden tractors, with folks attending from several states including Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, to name a few.

Steam engines included Keck-Gonnerman and Huber engines, which were blowing smoke belted to our sawmill and Baker fan. Along with the feature Case, Farmall and International tractors we also had Ford, John Deere, Oliver and others to complete our 100 or so tractor exhibit. Charlie English and his team gave those tractor folks a lot to participate in, showing just what those tractors are capable of with the tractor rodeo in the grandstands Saturday evening, just alongside our large consignment area.

Each year we look at expanding that area, as folks continue to supply it with more and more items. This year we had new items including antiques, tractors and even a Murphy Bed. For those of you that are not familiar with them – or like me they were before your time – a Murphy Bed is a large, ornate cabinet that was placed in a room. When opened, it revealed a bed that would be used for the evening, then lifted back into the cabinet until needed.

A number of folks visited our flea markets all three days to search for something new or maybe something they may have missed, as we had row after row of vendors.

Our gas engine exhibits included approximately 500 engines, which fired up early each morning and continued to run late into the evening hours. There were engine exhibits of all makes and models, including John Deere, International, McCormick-Deering, Foos, Massey-Harris, Reeves, a Briggs Motor Wheel, Bamford, and what is believed to be the only surviving Van Duzen 4 hp, built in 1891.

And yes of course there were Economy and Hercules engines, which we are proud be the home of. They were manufactured here in Evansville and sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. after being relocated here from the Sparta, Michigan, plant where they originated. “Hercules” letters embossed in brick are still visible on the front of the Hercules factory just off one of Evansville’s main expressways. How long the factory will remain standing remains to be seen, as no efforts have been made to preserve the building, which undoubtedly played a major role in manufacturing in Evansville at the turn of the century.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of the vendors, visitors and exhibitors; without them our show would not be possible.

If you missed this year’s show, we would like to extend our personal invitation to all of you to attend next year’s show, June 9-11, 2017, featuring Allis-Chalmers tractors, Associated and United engines, and all makes and models of garden tractors. Please come spend some time with us at the Vanderburgh 4-H center, 6 miles north of Evansville, Indiana, on U.S. 41. On the web at http://siamclub.hypermart.net or look for our ad in the 2017 Farm Collector Show Directory.

Contact engine enthusiast Glenn Miller at gmiller4950@att.net