302 Scenic Brook, Brenham, Texas 77833
The first annual Burton Cotton Gin Festival in Burton, Texas, held April 21-22, 1990, was a huge success. This gin is the home of the 125 HP Bessemer Model IV engine featured in the January 1990 issue of GEM.
Restoration work is proceeding at the site and Operation Restoration netted a tidy profit after the event's expenses. The festival featured historical cotton farming and ginning exhibits, particularly as they applied to Burton's history. Booths, crafts and entertainment were all on hand and the weekend was kicked off by the largest parade ever held in Burton.
Numerous old tractors were driven in the parade, many still in regular use. Mike Porter of Thicket, Texas brought his restored 22 HP 1912 Gaar-Scott steam tractor which he drove in the parade and around town.
Larry Jones, of the Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History, rode a restored Allis-Chalmers model G garden tractor in the parade.
Engine collector/restorer O.B. Malloy of Austin, Texas brought a 1914 vintage 35 HP Krueger-Atlas engine that he operated for the public during the two days of the festival. Several other collectors brought smaller hit 'n miss engines, operating such implements as pumpjacks and tiny grist mills.
Mike Brinkmeyer of Brenham, Texas brought a partially restored 1939 Allis-Chalmers RC on iron with which he operated an early belt driven hay baler, unrestored, but still baling. Mike's RC is #850 of approximately 5500 built.
The Burton Farmers' Cotton Gin was built in 1914 and last ginned in 1974. It is believed to be the only gin in the United States from the nineteen teen's and twenties period of ginning technology that is sill standing, intact and complete. The Bessemer's restoration, slated to begin in late 1990, will be done by Magnetic Instruments of Brenham, Texas (about ten miles from Burton). Due to management decisions made at Cooper-Bessemer since the submission of the story printed in the January 1990 issue of GEM, C-B has withdrawn their original offer to restore the engine.
Operation Restoration's long range plans include total restoration of the Bessemer and ginning equipment and to actually gin cotton as a hands-on working museum, driven by the Bessemer.