1990 Delaware Valley Old Time Power & Equipment Association Show

Avery 'Rotrak' tractor

1938 Avery 'Rotrak' owned by Howard Drake, Upper Black Eddy, Pa.

Content Tools

Lake Parsippany, New Jersey and Doug Tilton 1 Village Rd. Morganville, New Jersey 07751

The Delaware Valley Old Time Power and Equipment Association Inc., held its thirteenth annual 'Days of the Past' show on September 16 & 17, 1990 in Titusville, N.J.

Since the last show report appeared in GEM, several years ago, many changes have taken place.

In the beginning the Delaware Valley organization was allowed to use a small tract of land belonging to the Washington Crossing State Park. After several years we successfully outgrew this site and attempted to locate larger grounds to house our needs.

At that point, having learned of our needs, the parks system offered us a 15 acre tract of land with a building. For the past four years we have been operating on this new site, and as each year passes the club has been finding better ways to present to the public an interesting and fun show that will hopefully encourage both exhibitors and spectators to return for future shows.

Currently the Delaware Valley Old Time Power and Equipment Association has a membership list of over 200 members. Prior to our relocation, our membership list was roughly half of what it is now.

This may not seem to many to be an astonishing number of members, but in our case most memberships are processed at showtime. However, since our club moved its show four years ago, we have had rain interfere with each and every show causing a major decrease in exhibitor and spectator participation.

On the first morning of our 1990 show a thunderstorm passed through and knocked out the electricity. When the kitchen opened at 7 a.m. for breakfast we could only offer instant decaffeinated coffee and tea to exhibitors who showed up on Friday and stayed over on the grounds.

In spite of the storm, our kitchen crew still managed to do a fantastic job of offering a hearty bacon and egg breakfast, including fresh baked blueberry muffins, but by 9:00 a.m. with the storm now behind us, we were up and running with two nice days ahead of us. Finally!!

The exhibits that were on hand for the 1990 show were as unique and diverse as ones found at the larger and longer running shows in other regions of the country. There was a little bit of almost everything!

The steam display was represented by a 1913 8 x 10 Frick traction engine owned by Mr. Coles Roberts of Vincentown, New Jersey. Mr. Roberts is curator for the New Jersey Agriculture Museum.

The second offering was a beautiful custom built half scale, 65 HP Case traction engine that was built and operated by Mr. Cliff Foster of Sagaponack, New York.

Both of these units were kept busy powering different machines in our woodworking displays. Coles Roberts' Frick was used to power an 1890's, 54' Lane saw mill. This was the first show the mill was in operation.

Cliff Foster's ? scale Case provided power to the club's shingle mill, and later powered a buck saw to cut up the slab wood from the saw mill.

The gas tractor display last year had over 52 participating units, the largest one being a 1921 25-50 Avery tractor purchased two years ago by the club from Mr. Leroy Walker of Glen Rock, Pa.

The other makes on display were different IH models, both Farmall and McCornick Deering, styled and unstyled John Deeres, Allis Chalmers (both wheel and track type), Oliver, Cockshutt, Caterpillar, Ford, Silver King and Avery Rotrack and a cross motor Huber.

The club's threshing display was slightly hampered by the wheat getting damp from the Saturday morning storm (and a revised belt on the McCormick thresher) but in spite of these problems, the 25-50 Avery belted to the thresher did make for an impressive display.

The gas engines on display were also diverse, ranging from hand built models to a Bovaird and Seyfang oil field engine, displayed by the Huber family of Titusville, New Jersey.

It has only been in the past few years, since the move, that the club has been able to provide space to the different flea market dealers and engine related vendors that traditionally associate themselves with engine shows. Should the weather continue to cooperate, we soon expect to have a nice complement of these dealers on hand.

The number of dealers last year was limited, but those who did set up in the flea market presented a nice mix of antiques, memorabilia, engine and tractor parts, farm toys and older agricultural related literature, including owner manuals for different makes and types of farm equipment.

Antique cars and trucks made a nice turnout, adding variety to the different exhibits this year. One vehicle in particular reigned supreme as being a total eye catcher-a 1939 BX Mack truck, owned and restored by Tom Spencer of Warren, New Jersey. The truck featured a Riggers body, vertical head winch, and a complete display of restored house and equipment jacks, ropes, pulley blocks and hand tools that were associated with the heavy hauling and rigging industry. To complement this unit Tom exhibits his 1915 6 HP Domestic side shaft engine complete with a Stroudsburg winch, skid mounted on the truck body.

On Sundays for the past six years, the show has had garden tractor pulls. These have been quite popular; even though the pulls were for fun, you just can't help wanting to join in and compete for the trophy in the different classes that were set up by the garden tractor committee.

One of the newer items of interest has been the museum display. This was something that a few members started two years ago in the main building. It was an instant success, so much that it practically doubled in size this past year. Based on comments from the spectators, we are expecting the exhibit to continue to grow from year to year.

The display is truly by Webster's definition a 'potpourri' of antique housewares, industrial and agricultural hand tools, and memorabilia of rural America. The display spanned a time period from the 1880's to the 1950's, and is truly a must see item. Many of us feel it is one of the club's proudest accomplishments.

At the end of each day the club would have its daily parade and as the parade would pass the headquarters building and the announcer would call out to the audience what was passing by, an interesting observation was made: there were several unique and one of a kind items being displayed this year.

The first one was a 1938 Planet Jr. tractor. The tractor currently is owned by the New Jersey Agricultural Museum, but was originally built in the Delaware Valley area about 30 miles south of the show grounds in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the S.L. Allen Company. The tractor is believed to have been an experimental prototype.

There was a fire truck at the show that was custom built in 1930 by the city of Trenton's fire department. The truck was the first of three identical units built and the last one known to be operational. When Trenton Fire Department started to build the truck, they began work with a Mack chassis. Having Tom Spencer's BX Mack and this pumper on exhibit, they stood as silent representatives of the Mack Truck Company.

It is interesting to note that aside from Titusville being a rural community, neighboring the city of Trenton, the Mack Truck Company had historical roots going back to 1912 in New Jersey in the towns of Plainfield, Newark and New Brunswick.

The club for the last three years has had on display a Butterworth thresher. This unit was said to be a unique piece of equipment do to the fact the Butter-worth had the ability to bundle the straw after it was threshed and tie it into sheaves. This unit was also built in Trenton by the New Jersey Agricultural Works.

The Frick Company, which built Coles Roberts' traction engine, in the early 1900's, had a dealership in the city of Trenton also.

One of the tractors that appeared in the daily parade was a Cockshutt 50. Although the unit was manufactured in Canada, it was originally sold in New Jersey by the only Cockshutt dealer in the state, Roy S. Tilton &. Sons, Marlboro, New Jersey.

When the 1990 Delaware Valley Show came to an end on Sunday evening, it could have been reflected on as a milepost in the club's history, as this year more than ever the show did more to rely on the heritage of New Jersey and the Delaware Valley to provide several historically oriented items for the public's interest in an extremely historical location.

Please plan to attend the 1991 show on September 21 and 22. Help us make a little history of our own by putting together another historical show in the heart of an historical area-Titusville, New Jersey, the Garden State..