R.R. #1, Box 69 Minonk, Illinois 61760.
We hope 1992 was a great year for steam and gas shows around the country and for show enthusiasts alike. 1992 was a successful year at Pontiac. We featured Oliver Hart-Parr machinery and equipment and the debut of a commemorative 28-44 toy tractor.
We are looking forward to 1993 for our 45th anniversary celebration and the J. I. Case International Heritage Foundation's Expo! The expo and our anniversary should prove to be a winning combination for all who visit.
The Pontiac show includes a unique blacksmith shop operated by the Illinois Valley Blacksmith's Association. The men and women at the blacksmith shop often work well into the night creating metal works of art or repairing items for exhibitors on the spur of the moment. The clang of the hammer and the shower of orange sparks is constant.
The Iron Pony Steam train owned by the Steve Fanner family will again be making its whistle-stop at Pontiac. The train was built by Augie Otto in the 1950s and, as we understand it, Augie's train pulled its first passengers in Pontiac in 1953, which marks a 40-year milestone in its history also.
The gas tractor display area is being relocated this year to accommodate the ever-growing number of exhibits, and the gas engine area will also have room to expand.
For the shopping enthusiasts in the crowd, the flea market and arts and crafts areas provide shopping opportunities for even the most avid collector. One of the recent additions is a quilt show, which offers an opportunity to view some family heirlooms and artistry in cloth.
The list of exhibitors and displays could continue on and on, but one featured attraction has continued to draw much interest at the Pontiac show. At the center of the park is a 40 HP Fairbanks Morse diesel engine that was originally used at the LeRoy, Illinois, waterworks. Keith Mathews, who serves on the Thresher board and is himself a LeRoy resident, can usually be seen operating this huge engine. The distinctive sound of the engine can be heard all through the park!
This one-cylinder diesel engine was installed at the LeRoy waterworks in March, 1931, and was linked to a generator that powered pumps pushing water into the city's reservoir and from the reservoir back into water mains. The engine cost $3,800, but reduced the city's cost from $400 to $100 a month at that time, replacing a tractor engine and electric motor. Keith Mathews says that many small towns used similar types of engines to power generators for water and electric service.
The engine is eight feet tall. It is started with compressed air in an engine which has a 12 inch vertical piston and has automatic oiling and cooling systems. It was used in LeRoy until the 1960s, and was later sold to Reed Rush of Sharpsville, Indiana. When Mr. Rush began to sell his collection, he generously agreed to donate the Fairbanks engine to our show. It also powers our recently restored veneer mill.
The newest addition to the reunion this year will be a family entertainment tent, featuring top quality music both day and night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One of the featured groups will be the Whites, of Nashville and Grand Old Opry fame.
We have the privilege of hosting the J. I. Case Expo in 1993, and will feature Case exhibits of a wide variety and rarity. Among the oldest pieces of Case equipment at the show will be an 1893 center-crank Case steam engine which features some very colorful and unusual iron grillwork. We also will exhibit and operate an 1890s Case agitator which is the forerunner of the threshing machines that later dominated farming.
We'll have square dancing, an antique tractor pull sanctioned by the Illinois Tractor Pull Association, a horse pull and a horse show, quilt show, kiddie tractor pull, threshing, baling, saw-milling and daily power measurement by prony brake and dynamometer. There is a shingle mill, veneer mill and grist mill as well as an oat huller. It's an action-packed show you won't want to miss!
We are looking forward to welcoming visitors and exhibitors alike! Help us celebrate our agricultural heritage, Pontiac's 45th anniversary and the 7th annual J. I. Case Expo! Mark your calendars to join the Central States Threshermen in Pontiac, Illinois September 2-6, 1993! We'll look forward to seeing you.