Submitted by Warren F. Murphy, Wilmington, Ohio 45177. Pictures were taken by Frank Thatcher, also of Wilmington.
Do you like old machinery? I don't mean 'junk' machines, but tractors, threshing machines, shredders and any other machine used on the farm, back in the twenties and thirties. Most of these machines look and run as good as they did when they were new. If watching these machines in action gives you a thrill, then you know how Warren Murphy, of Wilmington, Ohio felt when he decided to do something about it. He invited three farmers and a bank president (who were all just as hooked on antiques as he was) and their wives to his house for a meeting. The five men sat around the kitchen table, and decided then and there to organize the Antique Power Club of Clinton County. The time, was the 24th of November, 1972. From this small nucleus, the club grew until now it has a membership of 150. In 1974 the club was incorporated. Their dues are $2 per person per year. There are two or three meetings a year... like the strawberry party in the spring, and the Christmas party, where pictures of past events are shown. One of the most interesting events that the club is involved in, is the Clinton County Corn Festisval. People come from all over Ohio, as well as neighboring states, to attend this three day display of antique tractors, threshers, shredders, balers, a stone crusher, steam engines, cider press, a sorghum mill and dozens of craft demostrations that depict how we lived, back as far as a hundred years ago.
Bob Olinger on his 20-40 Oil Pull during parade downtown 1984 show time. He is retired president of the local bank.
If you have never gone to the Corn Festival, then next September, you and your family should give yourself a real treat, and attend. This show, which is put on by the Clinton County Historical Society, with the cooperation of the Antique Power Club, has something for all ages. For dad, there is an Antique Tractor Pull in front of the grandstand. While the ladies are looking over the many quilts and other items which fill two large buildings, the boys can fill up on a variety of good food, as they look at the display of antique guns, belonging to the Bull Skin Trail Muzzle Loader Club. Or they can watch wheat being threshed.
The first two years, the club cut the wheat with a binder, and the menbers shocked it, then threshed it on the farm. They still cut the wheat with a binder, and shock it in the field, but now they thresh it at the corn festival so that young people, who have only heard stories, or seen pictures of how threshing was done, may witness it.
The five charter members of the Antique Power Club of Clinton County, who met in November 1972 to start the club are: Ralph Elzroth, Bob Olinger, Warren F. Murphy, Donald Haines, and Maynard Harris.
One of the highlights of the festival, is the mile long parade through downtown Wilmington and back to the fairground. It's hard to believe that there are that many old tractors around. Some dating back to the teens, like the Titan, Heider of Indiana tractor, were hauled on trailers.
The grand marshall this year was Dr. Robert Lucas, retired president of Wilmington College, who rode in a surrey with a 'fringe on the top', pulled by a matched team of horses. Strung out for over a mile, were tractors, float, horses and riders, a steam engine pulling a threshing machine, followed by a wagon load of wheat in the sheaves, and three or four school bands.
All in all it was quite a show, and proved that a few people with a good idea, can still fullfill their own fantasies, while turning back a few pages of time, for others to enjoy.
However, Mr. Murphy said that it wasn't always this good. Their first show was held at the fairground, with 25 gas engines, 10 tractors and about four inches of rain.