Best Show Yet for CONNECTICUT ANTIQUE MACHINERY ASSOCIATION

Fordson conversion tractor

Fordson conversion tractor owned by Ed & Ellen Bezanson & family, Waterford, CT.

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Sent to us by Robert Hungerford, 47 Clinton Avenue Westport, Connecticut 06880

The main event of the year was the running of the Skinner Universal Uniflow engine. The Uniflow is the ultimate in steam valve construction and the most efficient of steam engines. This engine was originally in the Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Veteran's Hospital and was an auxiliary generator. It was donated to CAMA two years ago and we have spent a great deal of time on it. The engine ran for the first time at CAMA. This was the moment we got all steamed up about! The crowd stood watching as the final adjustments were completed and the steam valve was opened. Bob Hungerford was the key to operation and I think he did a great job. The engine ran, the project came to a wonderful close, and perhaps next year we'll have it generating power again.

The other engines in the Industrial Hall include the Tiffany and Pickett engine, which is another large engine like the Skinner, but instead of a generator, this one drove an entire factory with line shafts and belts. The engine is based on the designs of Noble T. Green and is more efficient than others before it. This engine with a 12 foot diameter flywheel, had the inertia to power all the machines in the factory, and it only ran at 150 rpm. Due to the size of the flywheel, the speed up of the line shaft was a multiple of the diameter and it might have turned six hundred to one thousand rpm.

The newest addition to CAMA is the Oil Field Pump Engine Building. This building was put up in late summer, and the engines were in and on display before the show. What an accomplishment! The engines in the barn are single cylinder hot tube and spark ignition. The first engine next to the side door is a big red Oil City Boiler -works engine built in 1905 and has a 9 inch bore and 16 inch stroke, which is 300 cubic inches. It also has a really neat governor on it called a pendulum . governor. This is simply a weight fastened to the exhaust pushrod that opens the exhaust valve only below a certain speed. This one is four stroke and water cooled. However, when engines of this type were in operation, they pumped crude oil and used some of it for cooling. By pumping it through the jacket that surrounds the cylinder and running off the natural gas that is on top of the oil in the well, it made for an efficient setup. Now these run on propane, which has a lot more BTUs than natural gas, and so while starting the engines they tend to flood easily, but have more power. The second is a 1906 Oil Well Supply Simplex engine, which is very similar to the first, and has a centrifugal governor and dual ignition. The third big engine was built by Pattin Brothers before 1910 and is two stroke and hot tube ignition. It was used for drilling and is 15 HP. Flywheels are four to five feet in diameter on all of them, and they did not have a throttle, but were hit and miss. There are more engines in the future to be installed in this building and I hope to write about these as well. Ray De Zara also had two large single cylinder engines running outside at the show. The sheer size of these engines is fascinating, hearing and seeing them-run is the whole experience! The flywheels are five to six feet in diameter and the twelve inch piston in a big cylinder really belts out the power and the sound! What an exhibit to be seen! On the tractor side, another new and running piece is a 1930 Bay City 10-20 McCormick swing shovel. This was hauled out of the trees (literally) by Ray De Zara and brought to the grounds for restoration two years ago for Roger Nelson. Ray and Roger have worked on it steadily since, tackling one thing after the other until it was ready. I was involved in most of its progress and was thrilled to see the old rusty piece of iron change into a working piece of equipment!

All the effort and work by all involved really paid off to make a good contribution to the association and a usable Bay City shovel. Thanks everyone! Demonstrating those days when shovels like that were new is what we at CAMA do, allowing you to see the past in the present.

One of the bigger items on display was a 10-ton Buffalo Springfield roller. Karcher Reynolds worked on the engine with Trevor Marshall to restore it. While we are on the subject of big tractors, I think the steam tractors are a big draw. This year we had the 1910 New Huber running and chuffing along. These are so big that the driver cannot see much of what is in front, so to avoid problems, they are driven backwards to facilitate visibility and safety while moving at the show. The main thing is safety here, and it must always be practiced by all.

The other 14 ton tractor we have is the Fairbanks-Morse two-cylinder gasoline tractor. This behemoth is something else indeed when you see it and witness its motion and lumbering quality. It's something you would rather give a lot of room! In front of the driver are the giant rocker arms and valve springs right there out in the open. The heads are giant too, about 10 inches in diameter and its huge wheels stand seven feet high and two feet wide! This is a monster! Yet, it really doesn't make that much noise, kind of a big chuffing sound, although occasionally if the timing isn't right, it will backfire and that's loud. The big steel wheels on it, rolling along like the steam tractor's, put the roof way above the crowd and make an impressive spectacle. This big black bug bleeds black smoke when it's under load of driving and pulling itself along. It came from Canada and it is one of two known to run.

Overall I think the show went very well. I know I have said that, but I mean it. This year we went to a lot of trouble to make things as good as we could get them for all the people involved and the public coming to see the grounds during the show. The newest, but not the prettiest utility vehicle, is our International forklift, which I have taken to and was the real reason behind the group's ability to accomplish as much as we did in a short time. We could not have done much of it as easily, or at all, without it. We don't know how we got along without it before. It has been a real back-saver for everyone!

The buildings are the last thing to talk about, but not the least. They represent a lot of work, especially for the school! The Cream Hill Agricultural School started out in Cornwall (of course on Cream Hill) in the early 1800s. This building has now been moved to the CAMA grounds and has been restored as a museum to the past and shows the environment in which the students learned.

The Diebold Agricultural Hall is an exhibit in itself, being so large inside. The tractors it holds are even more impressive. The show is not necessarily the best time to see the barn, because it's just about emptied of its tractors, all of which are outstanding in their field. However, when they are all assembled in the barn the rest of the year, they are impressive to see, all lined up and looking their best (relatively speaking). Though they aren't actually running as they are during the show, they offer a glimpse into the past of farming and agricultural tools of yesteryear.

The spring plowing event is fast becoming a tractor show of its own for plowing fans. The spring event is usually the end of April or beginning of May.

I would like to thank all those who came to, and participated in, the fall show this year and I hope you will come again next year rain or shine on September 27-28, 1997. The show is in Kent, Connecticut, one mile north of the village on Route 7. For more information, contact Bob Hungerford at 203-227-1697 or Josh Reynolds 860-868-0283.