RFD #3, Box 5840, Gardiner, Maine 04345
In January of 1973 several antique engine enthusiasts met to share their interest in old iron. From this meeting the Maine Antique Power Association was born and membership has grown to over 300 in 1988.
The growth in interest in restoring and running these old pieces of history is certainly evident here in the Northeast. The first meetings were held at members homes and 'fireups' were pretty much limited to this small group. Of course, getting together to talk about engines and their history usually leads to someone suggesting that engines were made to run so 'let's get started.'
The Association's first actual engine meet was at the Lewiston-Auburn Airport in the summer of 1973. That fall a show was held in the parking lot of the new Augusta Civic Center. Interest was great and the Maine Antique Power Association was off and running. Engines represented at these shows were Don Sjostrom's two cylinder Eagle marine engine, Prince Steven's 6 HP, 1919 Thermoil and twin cylinder opposed air cooled New Way, a 6 HP Lennox, Thayne Hodgdon's 10 HP Root and Vandervoort, Elwin Cunningham's Big Six Sandwich and 7 HP Root and Vandervoort, Bob Meixell's big vertical Fairbanks Morse and John Webber's 3 HP Empire and butter churn to name a few.
The club established its headquarters at the Owls Head Transportation Museum on the Maine coast and remained there until 1980 when a move was made to the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds in Skowhegan, Maine where in 1983 a building was erected to become permanent head quarters. As is the case with many organizations, success can be measured by the many hours of effort by those willing to give of their time. These members really pitched in and the new clubhouse was built.
The Maine Antique Power Association has members throughout the Northeast and neighboring states who attend the twenty-to-thirty events supported by the club which include state and county fairs, town celebrations, festivals, historical societies functions and regularly scheduled annual events at the Booth-bay Railway Museum, Owls Head Transportation Museum and our own Spring Auction and Meet. Members take pride in being able to provide scholarships to deserving students who are continuing their education. Old engines are indeed part of our past and can be an active part of our future as new generations begin to appreciate bringing these relics back to life. As our eldest member, Ernest Hallowell, has many times stated, 'Nothing has had such a great effect on mankind as the internal combustion engine.' At ninety one, Ernest is still active and continues to operate his machine shop as he has done since 1918.
The largest engine owned by a club member is Philo Hewitt's 45 HP Alamo which he has transported to Maine shows. Walter Perry, of Mechanic Falls, owns three working engines that he built and mounted on dimes. One of which was on exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. In between these engines there range many of all sizes, shapes and descriptions each with it's own story and many operating all sorts of mechanical labor saving devices and contraptions. At times it seems more labor is used keeping them running than is saved by their operation. But, oh well, I guess that is to be expected.
When spring arrives who knows what will appear from the work benches of craftsmen like Ernest Hallowell, Andy Anderson and Elwin Cunningham. Ernest's quarter-scale 8 HP Callahan Bros., quarter-scale 6 HP Famous screen cooled and third-scale first four cycle Otto which is currently in the Antique Power Museum in Akron, Ohio are fine examples. Andy's working-scale models of a woodsplitter, cider press, ice cream freezer, threshing machine and International hay baler driven by his 'Blue Jay' engine which he designed using ideas from seventeen different engines are truly works of art. Elwin has brought engines to life that even the most optimistic would quickly use as boat anchors.
The Maine Antique Power Association is a group made up of fine folks doing a public service and thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process. The organization is committed to pre serving the history of engines, labor saving devices and other machinery from our past.