1993 Yesteryear Farm and Home Show Report

Jim adjusts the 25 HP Witte

Marj Stengel supervises as Jim adjusts the 25 HP Witte.

Carolyn Brown

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Photos by Carolyn Brown 12201 Vermillion Road Longmont, Colorado 80501

August 13 through 15,1993 were fun days for old iron collectors and interested persons along the front range of Colorado, as the Yesteryear Farm and Home Show took place at the Boulder Co. Fair in Longmont, Colorado. Folks from all parts of Colorado as well as out of state seemed to enjoy themselves very much at our tenth consecutive event. Shows such as ours are similar in many respects, yet unique because of the particular set of events, the equipment being displayed, the setting, and of course the exhibitors themselves. All the individuals who come to exhibit their 'toys' bring their own unique style of restoration, their own personal touches in the way they exhibit, and their own way of interacting and participating in the show. If you'll pardon the abstraction, it's almost as though the people themselves, through their exhibits, are on display. With this in mind, I'd like to introduce you to a few people who really make our show special. Obviously, I can't tell you about all our exhibitors, so I apologize to those not mentioned in my ramblings.

The Yesteryear Farm and Home Show is a family event for the Guerries. Jack and Mary Guerrie, along with daughter Elizabeth and son Paul, join us each year with a very nice display of stationary engines, Maytag washing machines and accessories. Dressed in her 'granny suit,' Mary washes clothes using the wringer washing machines, and makes ice cream with an attachment for the Maytag washer. She also brings a pedal grinder which was her grandfather's on the farm in Kansas, and a nicely restored l HP Sattley engine which her father used in the '30s to, operate a potato sorter in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. Elizabeth, 20, and Paul, 19; display engines they themselves have restored. Elizabeth restored a 1934 Model 92 Maytag, and painted it decidedly non-regulation colors the engine block is pink, the flywheel is green, and the cylinder is yellow. It really is a very attractive engine. Paul is more of a traditionalis this 1939 Model 72 Maytag is painted standard colors, but is no less attractive. Jack does not only run-of-the-mill rebuilding work, he also casts and machines replacement parts for their engines. All their displays are very nicely done.

Also on hand each year with some nicely restored stationary engines is one of the co-organizers of our show, Harold Block. Harold brings a collection of Hercules engines dating from 1917 to 1927, as well as several May tags he has restored. Harold built a can crusher which he powers with one of the Hercules engines, and visitors seem to never tire of watching it. Over a period of three days, he crushes several huge plastic bags full of aluminum cans. Even if the visitors don't get tired of watching it, I'll bet Harold gets tired of feeding it. Harold's display this year was surrounded by many other nice specimens owned by various individuals such as Paul Davis, Bert Herrera, Jim Kelly, and Chuck Wallace, to name just a few.

It's always good to see Slim and Ron Sherer arrive at our show. These guys show up each year with what might be called a travelling museum. Not only do they display numerous stationary engines, they have tables full of interesting and diverse things to see. They are kept busy demonstrating such things as waffle irons, padlocks, handcuffs, antique hand tools of all descriptions, cherry stoners, barbed wired samples, sad irons, gas and electric irons, hay knives, saws, railroad lanterns, and so on. It's folks like Slim and Ron who make the show so appealing not just because they have so many things to see, but because they are so outgoing and willing to talk to visitors and demonstrate just how all these things work. Ron is shown demonstrating rope making machines to interested visitors as Slim looks on. (Slim was smart enough to stay in the shade.)

 Jerome DeBacker, a farmer in early 20th century Boulder County, bought a 1907 Avery under mounted steam traction engine for use on his farm, and it was used steadily until finally being 'retired' in the '40s. Although it then sat idle for many years, Mr. DeBacker's descendants kept the machine in the family, and in 1988 they undertook to restore it. The restoration was a family affair, and many of Jerome's grandchildren and great-grandchildren took part.

This traction engine is without a doubt the most impressive machine at our show its immense size seems to captivate all who see it. A number of people have remarked that it looks like a railroad locomotive that doesn't need tracks. Many people, too, are surprised how quietly it runsit seems anything that large must surely be very noisy. Actually, the only time it is noisy is when they demonstrate its whistle. If Jerome DeBacker were alive, I'm sure he would be proud of what his family accomplished.

Stuart Anderson, a member of the DeBacker family, recently added another steamer to the collection by acquiring a 1917 model 40 HP Case traction engine from Creston, Iowa. This machine was brought to the family farm outside Boulder, Colorado, where it was torn down and totally rebuilt in the years 1991 and 1992. It was completed just in time for the 1992 show. The DeBackers also display 'regular' antiques such as Farmalls, John Deeres, and so on. Just as they pitch in and help one another as a family, the DeBackers are quick to join in our show and take an active part. Our show just wouldn't be the same without them.

Bill, Jim, and Marj Stengel team up to bring a nice variety of antiques each year. They have several tractors Case and Fordson, as well as Gibson tractors which were manufactured right here in Longmont, Colorado, in years pastmore on that later. Jim also is the owner of another very popular item, a 25 HP Witte stationary engine. This engine has a very distinctive sounda commanding WOOF! kachunk, kachunk, kachunk! at a rate of approximately 150 RPM. This engine was made in 1926 and was used to operate a rock crusher at a nickel mine in the mountains of Colorado. It was abandoned when the mine closed and sat almost 40 years before Jim acquired and restored it in 1989. It is a single cylinder 10' x 14' engine and weighs 4,000 pounds. Jim's brother, Bill, is a surveyor, and he finds some of their goodies during surveys. He finds them and Jim and his wife Marj acquire and restore them. Marj is always on hand, too, to help with their display as well as help out with the show.

Harvey Nelson is one of the founders of our show. The first year of the show, there were 11 tractors on display, and eight of them belonged to Harvey. He has been active in the show each year, and is also our major exhibitor. He and his wife Charlotte are our show superintendents, and are very active in promoting not just the show, but in creating an increased awareness and interest in our agricultural history. Harvey yearly displays somewhere between 18 and 24 tractors, depending on how many trips back and forth he feels like making. Harvey grew up on a farm, and is now a farm equipment dealer. He acquired an interest in old iron early on, and has spent a number of years collecting and restoring an assortment of very nice machines. His pride and joy is a 1917 Waterloo Boy Model N tractor he found on a farm at nearby Lyons, Colorado. When he acquired it, the Waterloo Boy needed total restoration. It was complete, but very run down. Harvey spent a whole year restoring it, and as you can see in the photo, the result is well worth the effort.

Rex Jarrett is about the busiest person I know. He is an airline pilot, and is typically gone for days at a time. When he gets home for a few days, one might think he would sit on the couch and vegetate. Not hardly. In his spare time, he is the leader of a bluegrass band named the 'Bluegrass Cornpickers.' This group is very popular along the front range region of Colorado, and they play most weekends that Rex is home. His wife Claire operates the sound board for the band, as well as keeping track of the music and the bookings. When by chance they aren't playing music on the weekend, they go sightseeing around the state. And when they aren't travelling, Rex is busy restoring. The Jarretts have restored a 1951 Farmall H which came from the Jarrett family farm in Indiana, a 1918 Model T stationary power engine, and a 1910 Associated Hired Man acquired locally a couple years ago. Rex finished the restoration of the Hired Man just in time for this year's show, and it is a beauty! The Jarretts display their engines and tractor at the show, and of course the 'Bluegrass Cornpickers' also perform daily at our show. As if all this weren't enough, Rex is also Master of Ceremonies at our show.

Distinguished guests this year included Mr. Fred Wilson, mayor of Long-mont, Colorado, who attended our show and drove Rex's Farmall in the antique tractor parade. He looks right at home on a Farmall. Also present was Mrs. Gladys Gibson, wife of the late Wilber Gibson who was the founder and president of the Gibson Tractor Company. These tractors were manufactured here in Longmont, Colorado, in the '40s and '50s. In addition to the Gibson line, the company opened a manufacturing facility in nearby Berthoud, Colorado, where they built a small tractor called PowerFlex. The company was sold after Mr. Gibson's death in 1959, and the new owner transferred the company out of state. Few tractors were built after the company changed hands, and the company soon closed its doors forever. We had several Gibson tractors present at our show, and had them grouped together in the display area for Mrs. Gibson to see. At the beginning of our antique tractor parade, Rex made a short presentation honoring Mrs. Gibson. She was thrilledshe had no idea there was such an interest in Gibson tractors. We hope to have her back again in the future. Incidentally, there is talk of hosting the annual convention of the Gibson Tractor Club at our show in 1996, which will be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the company. We'll see what develops.

The 1993 show was great, and we have high hopes for the show in 1994. 1994 show dates are August 12-14- For additional show information, contact the writer of this article, or Harvey and Charlotte Nelson, 7607 Hygiene Rd., Hygiene, CO 80533, phone (303) 776-5171.