An Island Engine Show

Martha's Vineyard club's logo

The club's logo appeared in the plaque that was given to exhibitors.

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Box 1844 Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

How many engine shows have been held on an island? The island of Martha's Vineyard, 7 miles offshore from Cape Cod, was treated to the first antique engine, vehicle and equipment show in its history on October 15 and 16, 1988. Sponsored by the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society and organized by the Martha's Vineyard Antique Power Association, the show was held on the society's fairgrounds in the farming community of West Tisbury.

Exhibitors coming from off-island took a 45-minute ferry ride each way which required reservations in advance, but despite the extra travel time, off-island exhibitors outnumbered islanders' displays. Perfect fall weather guaranteed a fine time, but nobody in our small group of Vine yard engine enthusiasts anticipated the show's success: 100 engines, 10 vehicles, 8 tractors, five model engines, 3 motorbikes and several bicycles were exhibited, and both days brought hundreds of curious spectators to the show.

Leonard Athearn's 2 HP Meitz & Weiss, which has been in his family on the island since the turn of the century, was the oldest engine; a 1 HP IHC Titan Jr. was the smallest, and a 15 HP Superior trailered over to the island by Robert Cagas was the largest engine on display. Harold Rogers, the island's first collector, showed several engines-all good runners in unrestored condition-that he had found on the Vineyard over the years. His 6 HP disk-flywheel Economy originally earned its keep powering a carpentry shop.

Other unusual engines displayed were: 7 HP Abenaque hopper cooled, early tall-base 6 HP Famous, 6 HP Foos Type S hopper cooled, 6 HP Robertsonville, 4? HP Olds Gas Power Co., 6 HP Fuller & Johnson, 3 HP Galloway, 2? HP Titan, and several one cylinder, 2 cycle marine engines including Albert Lindley's 4 HP Acadia installed in an 18 foot fishing dory.

Stanley Clem brought a 36' factory steam whistle which he had never heard blow; thanks to Dale McClure's portable compressor, the whistle hooted for all the town to hear and reminded us islanders of the whistles on the steam-powered ferries of our youth.

Many spectators said that the show reminded them of a time when life was simpler and slower-paced, and all agreed that those reminders are good for us all.

The second annual Martha's Vine yard Agricultural Society show is planned for October 14 and 15, 1989. Mark your calendars!