Steam-Era Report

An eyewitness describes the 1967 edition of Steam-Era, an annual exhibition of vintage steam engines and gas engines.


A 1912 Sawyer-Massey 20-40 hp, made in Hamilton, Ontario. Ownedby Gordon E. Smith, Orillia, Ontario.


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Steam-Era for 1967 is over for another year. Some of the readers of GEM might recognize the name — it is an annual steam and gas exhibit and demonstration held at Milton, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto). Now in its seventh year, this show, which is put on by the Ontario Steam and Antique Preservers Association, is enjoyed every year by an average of 30,000 visitors from all over Canada and many parts of the United States.

This year, the gasoline-kerosene section of the show was extremely successful. Under the capable direction of Ross Calder (gas tractors) and Hector Kyle (gas engines), over 40 gas tractors and and 75 gas engines turned out to make the show a tremendous success. The tractors, ranging from a huge Minneapolis Western plowing tractor to a tiny McCormick-Deering, showed their abilities on the sawmill, baker fans, and threshing. This Minneapolis was a new exhibit at the show this year. Sherwood Hume from Milton, brought this tractor from the American west in pieces. Literally, everything had to be rebuilt, but the complete restoration took only a matter of months. Much credit must go to Sherwood for his excellent job of restoration.

Another large tractor was a type "E" Rumely Oil Pull, owned by Norm Schell of Woodstock, Ontario. It certainly deserved the first prize that it received. Norm also has a variety of old style Rumelys and other tractors, including a rare Townsend. Of course, these are not the only interesting tractors, but two of approximately 40 very antique exhibits.

Gas engines are becoming a very important part of any exhibit of farm machinery. Steam-Era is no exception. Over 70 of these machines chugged for three days. They ranged in size from 1 to 22 hp., air and water-cooled upright and horizontal, portable and stationary. Many makes, common and rare, were represented at the show, including Monarch, Gilson, International, Lister, London, Mogul, Fairbanks-Morse, Gould, Shapley and Muir, Jumbo, Stover and Massey Harris.

The largest engine was a 22 hp Gould, Shapley, and Muir two cylinder, made in Brantford, Ontario. This engine is owned and restored by Hector Kyle of Ayr, Ontario. Other unusual engines included an 18 hp Fairbanks Morse, a 2 cylinder Temple 'Master Workman', a 6 hp National and a 4 hp Tuerk.

My family exhibits in the gasoline section included my father's 20-40 Sawyer Massey tractor and my 10 hp International (McCormick Deering) gas engine. Incidentally, this engine and a very old hand fed thresher were found in very good unrestored condition and purchased for $35.00 Even some of the original IHC tools were in the tool box and the decals were quite plain. It 'played' with the 1867 vintage dragsaw at Milton this year. Actually, I think about a 5 hp. engine would have been sufficient.

I have only touched on a few of the many activities at the show. There was also a display of gasoline powered equipment, a wide array of portable and traction steam engines, road rollers, models, antique cars and trucks, and domestic and agricultural antiques.

May I extend an invitation to all GEM readers to come to Steam-Era in coming years.