Greenfield Village Stages First Early Gas Engine Exhibit

Greenfield Village holds the first early gas engine exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum with promise of making this an annual event.

E Allis Chalmers and Model L Case tractors

Photo courtesy of Robert Gray, Eldora, Iowa.


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Greenfield Village stages the first early gas engine exhibit at Henry Ford Museum. 

Dearborn, Michigan. — "The response was so great, we hope to make this an annual event," was the comment of Frank Davis, curator of communications and industrial arts for the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village of the first early gas engine exhibit.

The day-long event held on the grounds of this world famous indoor-outdoor museum of Americana started with a steam parade through the Village. Visitors, many of whom came from various parts of the United States and Canada, were amazed and awed by the performance of the beautifully restored engines.

For the younger generation, it was complete amazement since they little realized that giant engines of this type were made a hundred years ago. Their thinking of modern technology couldn't comprehend that our forefathers were quite inventive and ingenious.

Famed radio and movie star, Edgar Bergen, along with his wooden friends, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, spent the day with the engine club members. Bergen, who is a steam engine collector himself, was starring at one of the Detroit area night clubs at the time, and thoroughly enjoyed the day off to be with the early engine buffs.

The setting at Greenfield Village made an outstanding showplace for the Michigan Early Engine Club members. The history of America and many of its developers can be traced here by visiting the homes and shops where they once lived or worked. The buildings are all originals and were moved to this 260-acre shrine by the late Henry Ford, one of America's great industrial pioneers.

Among the famous buildings in the Village are the Menlo Park. N.J. laboratory buildings, where Thomas Alva Edison invented the incandescent light bulb, phonograph, mimeograph and hundreds of other items we use every day; the Dayton, Ohio bicycle shop, where Orville and Wilbur Wright built the first successful airplane; the home of dictionary writer Noah Webster; and the little garage  where Henry Ford built his first car in 1896.

Greenfield Village and the adjoining Henry Ford Museum with its 14 acres of decorative arts and industrial exhibits, all under one roof, are open year around. A million and a half visitors will tour the Museum and Village this year.

This isn't a gas engine but it might be of interest to readers of G.E.M. It runs with an electric motor, has boom hoist and bucket hoist, also drag to fill bucket. This was at Mt. Pleasant show in 1965. I built this dragline in 1965.

These are not gas engines but they represent those that had a gas engine in them. Made of steel are about 12 to 14 inches long. They are models of a Jeffery quad and an F.W.D.

A collection of things (old toys), some I made, with my two sons.

A 6 hp Duplex Superior Gas Engine at work on a 24 inch surface planer. The young engineers are Steve and Donna Peterson of San Francisco, California

A view of model 60 Cat I built.

An E Allis Chalmers and Model L Case tractors I made. These are about 12 inches long. Also, were shown at Mt. Pleasant.

Pat Bennett, Belleville, Mich., makes a few adjustments to the carburetor of this early gas engine.

Here is John with a model cross motor Case tractor I built. It doesn't run. Made of steel. This was at Mt. Pleasant in 1966.

Museum curator Frank Davis inspects this engine being assembled by two of the Early Engine Club members.

The kids, and a lot of adults, were amazed at the way this 4 horsepower Field gas engine, with a belt to the corn sheller, could strip down the cobs.