Photos by Phillip Whitney
Undaunted by the typically indecisive New England weather, members of the Central Massachusetts Steam, Gas and Machinery Association held their seventh annual meet Saturday and Sunday, June 25 & 26, 1983.
In the same spirit of camaraderie that first joined them together, club members gathered the Friday evening before the meet to put the finishing touches on the Orange Airport field. The show itself, which combines an air show, antique car exhibition, flea market and crafts display, has grown tremendously. In anticipation of another large crowd, last minute preparations were made.
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny. Before too long, it was dark and threatening. Soon after, gusty winds had separated the early exhibitors from their awnings. By ten o'clock however, the weather had settled down, and the field began to fill with exhibitors.
Prominent among the exhibitors, and an annual attraction, was Bruce Dexter's Chase shingle mill which always attracts a crowd. With his steam boiler, Ed Bergquist, club treasurer, hosted the steam table and provide a place for many exhibitors to demonstrate their latest steam models and collections of old steam engines. Visitors were also treated to a demonstration of drag sawing by Walter Kritemyer of Connecticut who, after a rough start, (seems the club supplied an oak log that must have been a tree house judging by the nails) settled on the good end and produced fine round slabs for two days.
Representatives from the Owls Head Museum of Maine were on hand with a fine display of antique machinery featuring a restored steam driven pump. Chet Petrowsky, club member, displayed his recently restored 8 HP Sturtervante steam engine. Nellie Bates, widow of Harry Bates, displayed her husband's fine collection of antique woodworking tools and demonstrated their respective purposes. One of the largest exhibits was Raymond Chapdelaine's collection of Witte 'Headless' gas engine. The collection runs from two to twenty horsepower and all the engines are transported on finely restored antique GMC trucks. New this year was a crosscut sawing contest which proved to be a big attraction to young and old alike.
The Orange Senior Citizens, as well as other local non-profit organizations provided food for sale, and on Saturday evening entertainment was provided by 'The No Name Band' for those guests and exhibitors remaining overnight.
With 20,000 visitors viewing 486 antique engines, numerous aircraft and antique cars, the show definitely lived up to its reputation as one of the best. It was a time for exhibitors to swap stories, engines and equipment. It was a time for spectators to reminisce about the kind of performance particular engines gave back on the farm. A good time was had by all and plans are being made for June 23 and 24, 1984.