Report of California Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association

1974 Spring Show

Photo by Jim Hickey.

Jim Hickey

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2734 Chaffee Street, National City, California 92050

With some apologies in the field of old and slow, we come to you once again with a report of the health and welfare of the California Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association. With a forward look and a backward glance, let us launch some discussion of the doings hereabout.

I suppose one way to approach this is in reverse, working backward from the very satisfying potluck dinner meeting held in Long Beach, California this past January 25th. Oh! the goodies - the pies, the cakes, the puddings - the Calories!! Ah, yes, some substantial proteins were present and apparent to be sampled also; and just over a hundred hungry souls appeared to partake and enjoy the repast and fellowship.

The business meeting in the afternoon was straightforward and forthright, moving easily from one necessary matter to another. An increase of membership was noted by Director Paul Freiling, who counted some 503 as of that day. Al Carroll noted in his treasurer's report that the club is quite healthy financially, albeit an unreconciled bank balance of some 39c. President Cliff Helwig and Vice President Wes Hamilton told of progress, even at that moment, for a future permanent home and show ground for the club. (Director Bill May missed the meeting while negotiating for the necessary acreage.)

With thoughts projected toward the future, we learned from Director Claar Tietsort that plans are nearly complete for a show at the International Date Festival at Indio, California February 15-23. Also in planning stage is the Orange Show at San Bernardino March 13-23 the Tropico Mine Show at Rosamond the 1st and 2nd of March and, later on, our annual Spring Show (6th) in mid-June. The Hemet Agricultural Fair and the Antelope Valley Fair in the fall, Mule Skinner Days (to be held the 4th of July) at Bishop, California are also possibilities this year. There is also some speculation of a Threshing Bee at Yucaipa when the barley is ripe.

New officers for the coming year were elected and include West Hamilton, President, Cliff Helwig, Treasurer, Helen Tietsort, Director Ladies Projects (a new office), and a slate of other directors to help conduct the clubs affairs.

Now looking backward for a bit (and isn't nostalgia what collecting and restoring is all about?) we find that we had fun and games in 1974 at the Fall Show, the Orange County Fair, Antelope Valley Fair, Hemet Agricultural Fair, our own 5th Spring Show at Santee, California and some other times and places including the Tropico Mine Show, the Date Festival at Indio and Al Holton and Virgil White's Steam-up at Cucamonga.

And so to some specific goodies to be enjoyed-I've included some pictures with their own captions- there was Claar Tietsort with his trailer-mounted display, all operating and topped by a windmill, pumping water. The Country Kitchen, staffed by some real old-fashioned country cooks, was by far the single most popular attraction at any of our shows, in my opinion. I'd wager this opinion is also shared by a whole host of individuals who benefited by the free samples of home-made ice cream, apple tarts, corn bread (baked in a wood-fired kitchen range) and baked beans . . . A-a-ah! Those Beans! Ida Ashbeck has a touch with a pot of beans that would make a compulsory gourmet from a dedicated dietary addict.

We've had our share of excitement this year, too. Items in my notes include gun-play in the night at Lancaster and a down-hill runaway tractor at Santee. If these didn't stir the adrenalin, perhaps we are indeed becoming blase in our view of the world about us. We've had tractor races, sawing contests, and plain skillful demonstrations of the art of former days. Leo Coss, our septuagenarian blacksmith has plied his trade commendably to the accompaniment of multi-toned steam and air whistles. And how about the 'Stomper', that gas-fired hand-held Barco compactor which is guaranteed to rid one of corns and bunions?

This year something new has appeared on the scene and it has proved to be a popular attraction at the fairs and shows where it has appeared. The Country Parlor, counterpart to the Country Kitchen, is staffed by our own ladies and exhibits such items as a spinning wheel, quilting frame, nickelodeon, foot-powered sewing machine and period furniture.

Well, we could go on and on, but we wouldn't want to bore you with a screed of too much of the details of the fun we've had, so we'll simply invite you to watch for dates, make plans, arrange vacations, and come to Southern California. We'll be glad to see ya.

View of part of the display area at the 1974 Spring Show at Santee, California

E. R. Palisch rests while his model B John Deere squirts a stream of water into Lake 4 at Santee, California

Dick Hamp of San Jose, California is smiling at us as he is shown here operating his type 'A' 1-1/2 HP Olds gas engine, which is in unrestored condition, [to restore it, I'd have to remove the original decal] says Dick

Preparing delicious edibles in the country kitchen is Martha Coss at left and Ida Ashbeck on right - gal in center unidentified.

Marge Hennen sews a fine seam as she pieces quilt blocks with an early Singer sewing machine.

Al Chambers of San Diego, California is busy chopping hay with his restored Hocking Valley Hay Chopper powered by a 2 HP Reeves gas engine.

Courtesy of Don Beach, 2734 Chaffee Street, National City, California 92050