Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Show

Ripley Rumsey

Dale Nickerson's 'Ripley Rumsey', ca. 1905.

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934 Shadyside Road Jamestown, New York 14701

The 17th annual Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Show was held August 17 and 18, 1991 at Dart Airport, Hartfield, New York, home of the show since 1987. The show included well over 100 gas engines, from half horsepower washing machine engines to 16 horsepower oil field toilers. There were over two dozen tractors, ranging from the 1918 Titan owned by Clint Meeder to Al Decamp's 1963 Allis-Chalmers.

The theme of the show this year was: 'Proudly Made in New York State'. Owners such as Bruce Swanson and Dale Nickerson were particularly proud of two extremely rare engines made in nearby Ripley, New York: a simple, small A. Huntington from the second decade of this century, and an elegant industrial Rumsey made a few years earlier on the same site. The Rumsey employs an unusual, perhaps unique Geneva escapement. in the ignitor linkage.

The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Model Engine Club, sister organization to the sponsoring Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Association, contributed most of the 30 or more models, toys, and curiosities both in a special tent and scattered among the rows of full sized equipment.  

Although it is not a New York made item, the Association pictured a 1907 International Auto Buggy on its advertising button and featured it in its advertising. This horseless carriage has been a favorite at the show since 1982 and is well known in western New York. It has even appeared in a major Hollywood film. Fifteen or twenty, other antique cars also were on the grounds.

The show included a special section for large wood industry equipment. This proved very popular. The equipment was demonstrating almost continuously. There was a portable and stationary drag saw display by Ernest Miller and Richard Wise respectively. Emery Masiker peeled off great lengths of cherry veneer with his early 1930s St. Joseph veneer mill, while his wife Sandy made veneer baskets. Jerry Jahreis made hemlock shingles with his 1898 Lyons shingle mill. Spectators could then take these to Mitch Fitzgibbon's blacksmith booth and have them branded as a free show souvenir.

This was Fitzgibbon's second year at the show demonstrating the sometimes brute and sometimes delicate artistic skills of this ancient trade. In addition to blacksmiching and basket making, the craft line up included a log hewing demonstration by Norman Carlson.  

The oldest piece of equipment on the grounds was an 1863 corn sheller shown by Dale Henry of Stevensville, Ontario, followed closely by a small steam engine, run here by compressed air, owned by club president Daniel Minor.

A unique and now regular feature of the show is the antique radio display provided by Chris Fandt. He had about 20 pieces of equipment, mostly battery era receivers of the early and mid '20s. Some of these had cases made by Chautauqua County furniture firms. Fandt also showed a 1949 television receiver and a giant transmitter tube.

There were numerous specialty displays. Ward Smith showed a dairy theme built around the Anderson milker manufactured in Randolph, New York. This year he had a locally made Fenner churn and a Buffalo made Economy King cream separator, and the sweethearts of the show, his papiermache life size cow and his mannequin dairy maid. Richard Gasper displayed conventional and novelty wind powered devices including a windmill on a tall telescoping tower. Harold Carlson had a carefully prepared hand tool display including Jamestown, New York tools. Craig Stoll had four gigantic factory and ship steam whistles. Gary Taylor brought several early 'heavy devil' chain saws. Displays of early mechanically oriented toys, washing machines, and spark plugs were among the other entries. Garden tractors, lawn mowers, and home built vehicles from go carts to log skidders also appeared. A magic faucet pouring water out of thin air added mystery and humor.  

Rev. Bruce Swanson (United Methodist) conducted a worship service Sunday morning. Smith and Taylor conducted tractor parades. A local historical society provided snack foods and the Hartfield Fire Department brought in barbecued chicken. Buffalo public television station WNED/WNEQ produced an 11 minute documentary from Sunday's show.

The 1992 Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Show is scheduled for the same location, at the head of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York, August 15 and 16. This year's themes will again be 'Made in New York,' plus 'Silver King Tractors.'

1992 officers include Barbara Wise, president (716) 988-3616, Norman Carlson, Vice president &. Publicity (716) 483-0134, and Ward Smith, Secretary (716) 267-3033.