1988 Show Report: Coolspring Power Museum

30 HP Crossley sideshaft

30 HP Crossley sideshaft.

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Special Projects and Funding Coordinator Coolspring Power Museum R.D. 1, Box 199A , Monkey Wrench Rd., Greensburg, PA 15601

This past summer was the third operating season for the Coolspring Power Museum, one of this country's largest permanent collections of historically significant internal combustion engines. This year, as in previous years, two shows were held on museum grounds. Our Summer three-day show, always held on the third full weekend in June and a popular event for the last 12 years, was our largest ever. Our fall closing show, held on the third full weekend in October for the last ten years, was also well attended.

The Summer show, sponsored and managed each year by the Coolspring Hit and Miss Engine Society, was a huge success. This year's show attracted an estimated 5,000 people and featured added museum displays, 161 guest exhibitors, 55 flea market vendors selling everything from spark plug terminals to an eight-ton TD-9 dozer, and new equipment displays including Caterpillar, John Deere and Kubota machinery, White and Navistar trucks, an operating Breeze-wood band-type sawmill display, and Timberjack log skidders. An excellent food concession provided by the Oliver Township Volunteer Fire Department included several battalions of deliciously barbecued chickens and nearly endless quantities of creamy, homemade ice cream made with the help of a 1? HP New Holland engine. Other show attractions included an old-fashioned farm tractor pull, a children's pedal tractor pull, and live music on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Of course, everyone that attended this year's summer show will agree that the main attraction was the extensive and diverse exhibit of vintage internal combustion engines. The museum exhibits include approximately 250 engines ranging from a small and very rare flame ignition Crown pumping engine to two 100-year-old slide valve Crossley-Ottos. Also of note are a twin cylinder 125 HP Klein and a 150 HP four cylinder Turner-Fricke. For those enthusiasts who haven't yet attended one of our shows, the museum exhibits are housed in nine buildings.

The machine shop houses many examples of early machine tools and a number of gas engines typically used to power them.

The engine house is the home for many engines designed for petroleum production and agricultural use, including a rare Harvard-Stickney, three Kleins, a 6 HP Mietz and Weiss, and a very old Van Duzen.

The McKee Station is an authentically preserved example of a National Transit petroleum gathering and relaying station, complete with belt-driven lighting generator and vintage wiring.

The annex building houses a beautifully restored 30 HP Crossley side-shaft and Crossley twin-sideshaft 5 HP starting engine, a 10 HP Alamo commercial style oil engine and a dozen very rare, nearly one-of-a-kind engines, all illuminated by a worn but trusty Delco Light plant.

The powerhouse is home for 15 of the museum's proudest exhibits. These include the 150 HP Turner-Fricke, a 40 HP wipe-spark Foos, a 35 HP Superior commercial-type, a 15 HP electric lighting Otto, two slide-valve Crossley-Ottos, an 8 HP Springfield, a 30 HP Climax, a beautiful 10 HP New Era, and a large 15 HP electric-lighting Fairbanks-Morse Type N.

The big engine building houses 35 examples of vintage engines representing various oil field, marine and electrical generating technologies. Prized exhibits in this building include the 125 HP twin cylinder Klein, a 300 HP four cylinder double-twin opposed Miller, two recently acquired 1901 Westinghouse direct coupled engine generator sets, one 50 HP and one 100 HP, a huge Model 4 single cylinder Klein, among other rare engines.

The pumphouse recirculates water to all of the display buildings to cool the engines on permanent display. Pumping is done with vintage pumps driven by Domestic, International Harvester, Otto, and Foos engines.

The 'half-breed' pavilion, a new display for 1988, houses 20 steam drilling engines converted to gas engines for oil well pumping duty. This practice was peculiar to the eastern oil fields and our display of 'half-breed' engines is the largest of its kind in the country.

The last building houses various static displays, museum equipment, and more oil-field style engines, including a one-of-a-kind throttling governed 14 HP Jacobson.

The Coolspring Power Museum has evolved from the lifelong collections of two individuals, Paul Harvey and John Wilcox, through untold hours of labor and support volunteered by many dedicated engine enthusiasts.

Guest exhibitors displayed a variety of unusual engines including a 1910 Kewanee, several Bullseyes, a smooth-running Lawson-Lawton, and a very old tank-cooled Domestic. Several nicely restored oil field engines provided an interesting contrast to smaller New Ways, Moguls, Aermotors and Grays. Finely finished model engines were displayed in abundance and included an impeccably detailed quarter-scale Reid and a stovepipe Domestic. Other beautiful models included faithfully reproduced York and Witte models, several freelance sideshaft models and various Breish engines. Other unusual displays included a nicely restored, but still active, Indian motorcycle, several hot air fans, a number of expertly restored marine engines, and a miniature Hagan sales man's sample engine.

October Show No admission is charged to our Fall closing show, which is held on the museum's last regularly scheduled open days of the season. This year's fall show was held on October 15 and 16 and featured approximately 30 exhibitors and flea market vendors. The pace was very leisurely and everyone had ample time to enjoy all of the displays. Unique engines seen at this show included an inverted Backus engine recently unearthed at a shopping mall construction site and a very rare Straight Line brand oil field engine. The fall show, which is attended primarily by museum members and serious collectors, drew visitors from as far away as Nova Scotia, California and England.

Guided Tours Following each of the season's shows for the last five years, the museum has sponsored guided tours to various points of engine-related historical significance within driving distance.

Following the June 1988 show, the Coolspring Power Museum con ducted an informal tour into the old oil fields of Western Pennsylvania. On Monday morning, we departed to the Windy City air lease, the last of such still in production. Here, by the courtesy of Harold 'Jim' McCauley, we were able to see oil pumped by 1880's steam engines powered by compressed air from a 1916 Blaisdell air compressing gas engine.

The lease was drilled in the 1880's using steam engines and standard rigs. There was a total of 48 wells of good production drilled into the third sand. Upon completion, five central boilers were installed with steam lines running through insulating 'sawdust boxes' to essentially ten wells each. As time passed, production decreased and boilers aged. About 1915, a contract was let to Blaisdell of Bradford to convert the wells to air power. A factory-designed plant consisting of two 16' x 20' Blaisdell gas engine air compressing engines was built to power the existing steam engines by compressed air. An original Farrar & Treft boiler was used as an air receiver. With both engines running, five wells could be pumped.

72 years later, the lease still pumps six original wells from one Blaisdell engine-one well at a time. Windy City now produces about 100 bbls. per month. The air engines are of many different brands including Stearns, Struthers-Wells, Climax, Oil Well Supply, Bovaird-Seyfang, Tifft, and others.

Next, we all boarded our vehicles and, after a quick lunch, departed to the Chicora field. Here, we were able to see an entirely different pumping technology. These wells pump 24 hours/day to maintain oil and gas production as well as eliminate brine.

Our host here was Harold 'Hank' Eyth, who had arranged with Gary O'Donnell to visit his pumping wells. Over each well is constructed a standard rig with engine house, belt hall, and derrick. The engine is a 15 HP, 4 cycle Evans belted to a large wooden band wheel which operates a walking beam that pumps the well. The engine is also belted to a compressor which maintains a vacuum on the well. This increases oil production as well as providing gas for the engine.

In all, the tour demonstrated to the guests two entirely different and unique pumping technologies still found in Western Pennsylvania. Although long obsolete, the equipment still runs well and give a glimpse of 'living' power technology history.

Following the October 1988 show, the Coolspring Power Museum conducted an informal tour of the oil fields and museums of Western Pennsylvania as well as engine collections in Pennsylvania and New York.

The first stop Monday morning, as in the tour following the June show, was the Windy City air lease.

Next, with the exhaust note of the Blaisdell in the background, we departed by a scenic forest road to the Sackett Station of the National Fuel Gas Company. Here we viewed a 1926, 330 HP twin double-acting Worthington compressing engine. By museum efforts, this engine has now been donated to Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, Inc. and moved to their Rollag, Minnesota grounds. The Sackett Station still operates six 1950 Ingersoll-Rand gas compressing engines.

Following lunch, we traveled to the Drake Well Museum at Titusville, Pennsylvania, the site of this country's first oil well drill in 1859. Vance Packard of the Pennsylvania Museum Commission was host and interpreted the displays and equipment for us. Of special note is the beautifully reconstructed replica of Drake's first well, complete with operating steam engine. There is also an operating rod-line oil pumping lease powered by a 20 HP Olin engine and 'Silver Run', an original National Transit local station powered by a Model 2 Klein engine. It is interesting to note that the Coolspring Power Museum was instrumental in Drake Well Museum's acquisition of the Silver Run station.

On Monday evening, the tour visited National Fuel Gas' Roystone Station. Although this is a busy main line station, we were privileged in having the engineer start and operate a 1917 24' x 48' tandem double acting Snow gas compressing engine for us. This beautiful machine has an 18' diameter flywheel and still operates on dual 'make and break' ignitors. It certainly makes nice stack music in the cold night air!

After spending the night in Brad ford, Pennsylvania we visited the collection of Mike Fuoco. Mike is Coolspring Power Museum's secretary-treasurer and has some most unusual engines not seen any where else.

We then departed to Allegany, New York, for a visit to C.B. Giardini's scrap yard. The tour guests were like kids in a toy store and most everyone obtained a 'goody' to take home.

After lunch Tuesday, we traveled on to Wellsville, New York to visit Donald 'Red' Ball. Red has many unique and beautifully restored engines in his display building, and he operated them all for us. His collection includes a 25 HP Rumsey, Ripley Rumsey, 6 HP Reid, 10 HP Otto, and a 14 HP Buffalo-Olin, to mention a few.

At this point, some tour members left for Jim Ertle's huge tractor collection in Canandaigua, New York. The rest of us proceeded on to Pavilion, New York to visit Stiles Bradley. We pulled in his driveway to the music of his 25 HP Simplex. Stiles has a most impressive collection which includes 2 Type A and 2 Type B Springfields, two Callahans, a Watkins, two Old Style Simplexes, an Otto, a Bogart, and a Columbus as only a partial list. Stiles operated every one of his engines to the delight of the group and to provide a most memorable end to the fall tour.

As we left for home that night by various routes, everyone felt they had seen an amazing amount and variety of gas engines during a short, two day period.

Engine Raffle Each year, the Coolspring Power museum raffles a restored, donated engine, the proceeds from which are used for museum operation and improvements. This year's raffle engine was a 1? HP Jacobson 'Sturdy Jack', and was won by Joseph Glaudel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

We thank everyone who visited the Coolspring Power Museum during the 1988 season for your support and enthusiastic help. We also invite everyone to visit our museum in 1989. The museum is always open by appointment and will be open to the public on the third Sunday of every month, May through October. Come and see what we've added for 1989!