The summer had been unusually dry, and we all wondered if the wheat would be ripe enough to cut and thresh by Reunion time. As it turned out, all the worry was for nothing. This happened at the 1965 Antique Tractor Show & Reunion organized by the Pioneer Gas Engine Association, Inc., which was held July 30, 31, and Aug. 1st on the grounds of the Mendon Pioneer Museum in Honeoye Falls, N.Y. The weather was nice; on the cool side with the threat of rain now and then. The much needed rain came at 9:00 Sunday night after the engines were put to bed and almost everyone had left for home.
There were twenty-three gasoline tractors in operation in the daily parades. Among the largest were a 22-44 Minneapolis owned by Harry Schoff of Honeoye Falls; a 1924 Aultman-Taylor 22-45 owned by David Shearns of Marion, N.Y.; and a 1926 cross motor Case 25-45 owned by Donald Luteyn Sr. of Palmyra, N.Y. Other makes represented were Huber, Oil Pull, McCormack-Deering, Ford-son, John Deere, and Hart-Parr. Harold Ball of Honeoye Falls had his homemade run-about powered with a 4 H.P. International Famous vertical gas engine. He was kept busy giving rides. Other attractions were a 1924 Huber steam traction engine and a Monarch steam road roller, both owned by Harry Schoff.
I have been collecting old Gas Engines for several years. I now have 31; from single cylinder Maytag to 7 hp. Sears. I have several reconditioned and painted in original color and plan to recondition them as time permits. The one on three wheel truck is a Win. Galloway Handy Andy. My wife and I purchased it around 1925 from the Wm. Galloway Co. to operate our wood Maytag washing machine. I think the price was $32.50 plus freight. The wood base that it is on is the original base that came with it. The trucks I picked up in junk yard. Have just given it a paint job. The fly wheels are 10'' in diam.
There were 146 gasoline engines in operation. Some were powering allied equipment, such as generators, corn sheller, feed grinder, water pump, milking machine pump, small baker fan, etc. One of the most interesting exhibits was owned by Dick Wood and son from Livonia. Dick's daughter was dressed in a long dress and sunbonnet, and did her wash many times over with an old washing machine run by a gasoline engine. Dick also had a D.C. generator which lit up several bulbs. It is exhibits such as these that make for an interesting show and attract the visitor's attention.
There were three flatbed trailers loaded with gasoline engines bolted to the floor. This provides an excellent way of transporting the engines and saves time in setting them up. All that is needed is good blocking under the trailer.
A new attraction this year was the 40 H.P. Olin engine, owned by Harry Schoff, who owns the grounds where the Reunion is held. This engine was started, for the first time since Harry had it home, on Saturday. You would have thought the entire place was on fire, with all the smoke from the exhaust. When it was all cleaned out, it ran like a top and one could carry on a conversation between the 'pops'.
We had a nice model display of about 30. They were run entirely on compressed air. This proved to be much cleaner than the steam, but of course some of the old steam buffs said it just wasn't right, and took all the fun out of it.
As was mentioned in the first paragraph, the wheat threshing was sort of in doubt, but it turned out all right. Four acres of wheat were donated by Charles Rolf of Hemlock. The Sunday before the show, several men with a tractor and a McCormack Deering binder, cut and shocked the grain. As it was too late to draw and stack, (it would sweat and not thresh well), some of the men with a truck drew the grain direct to the Batavia thresher as it was needed. The old tractors would bark away, and the men who were feeding would try their best to stall them. The straw was baled with an International stationary baler. The bales made good seats for the ladies and older folks under the tents.
The old sawmill was working good and quite a number of logs were sawed up. The shingle mill was a big attraction, and many people took home a shingle for a souvenir.
On Saturday our Queen, Mrs. Charles Rolfe, Sr. of Avon, was crowned by our President in front of a TV camera. Mrs. Rolfe insisted on taking part despite a broken ankle.
On Sunday, the Livingston Antique Automobile Club members brought 14 cars to the show. They had fine display. The United States Navy had an interesting trailer display on the grounds Sat. and Sun.
The ladies were set up at headquarters and sold memberships and souvenirs. Several of them helped by working at the gate. Subscriptions to IRON MEN ALBUM and ENGINEERS AND ENGINES were sold. There were two booths of handmade jewelry. Delicious dinners were served in the dining hall by Mrs. Schoff. Shirley and Dorothv manned the hamburger trailer. Also available were popcorn, french fries, and candy apples. There was Western music and dancing at night.
We consider the Reunion to be a great success. It took much hard work by the members to get it ready, and to do all the work necessary to put on a successful show for the public. Our membership is growing and we feel that the public is becoming more interested all of the time. It is getting harder to collect these old relics. We believe it is necessary to restore and preserve them so people in future years will know that not everything was always done by push-button. Our ancestors tried, as we do now,to improve their way of life and the invention of the gasoline engine was one of the greatest things to revolutionize their way of living.