Utah Antique Collectors Finally Organize

Shorty Probasco's pride and joy

Shorty Probasco's pride and joy that appeared on GEM's cover, Sept/Oct 1981.

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Treasurer Utah Antique Machinery Assoc.

We were strangers until about two years ago, even though we each had a love of mechanical things and were busy doing our own things in our own workshops. GEM played a big part in drawing us together.

A few of us were invited to display our antique treasures at a local antique car show. We were given one corner of the show grounds, and were amazed at the number of tired iron collectors in attendance at the show. Others came over too who can resist the sound of an old one-cylinder engine, putting away at a very slow RPM. What is making that kind of noise? We certainly got our share of attention.

I couldn't begin to guess how many of the people who watched those Maytags run, remembered that unmistakable sound and wanted to tell me about how their mother or grandmother used one to wash their clothes, so many years ago.

The younger generation watched in disbelief to see an open crank Stover governed by hit and miss. Most felt that the old Stover needed some adjustment to smooth out the irregular firing.

Those of us displaying our rusty iron, felt it would be good to organize a Utah Club. Bruce Rogers took the bull by the horn and requested GEM to give him the names of Utah subscribers. This gave us a nucleus of those who might be interested in tired iron.

Bruce made the arrangements for an organizational meeting which was held in January of 1985 at a Salt Lake City restaurant. 25 prospective members showed up. Bruce Rogers was elected president and was given the responsibility to select a board of directors whom he felt would function well. We made application to become a member of the Early Day Gas Engine Association, Branch 14.

Our first show was set for June 7-8 in Huntsville, Utah, at Harold (Shorty) Probasco's ranch. By way of interest, Shorty's pride and joy is featured on the cover of the Sept/Oct 1981 issue of GEM.

Our show was a great success. We had 80 gas engines of various makes on display; several gas tractors size Case 65 steam tractor and a size model Case 65 steam tractor, built by Burk Peterson. This is such a beautiful model that Burk's wife allows him to keep it in their living room. Burk cannot bring himself to put a fire in it, and so it is run by an air compressor.

Our second show was October 11-12 at the Wheeler Farm. The Wheeler Farm was a privately owned farm from 1887 until 1943, but is now an historical, working farm operated by horse and hand labor to provide a fascinating and comprehensive account of life nearly a century ago.

The curator of the farm, Glen Humphries, invited the Utah Antique Machinery Association to hold our second show at the farm. We have access to a 5-acre, grassy pasture for the two-day show.

Another successful member of our club, Orville Gunther, was traveling in England and visited an English antique show (or rally, as they call them in England) and saw an English size Allison steam tractor that he just couldn't live without. He negotiated to have the tractor shipped to Utah and had this tractor at our October show and gave rides to everyone interested.

Our second year began with elections of new officers at the same restaurant in Salt Lake City on January 24, 1986. The places and dates of our upcoming summer shows were set, and will appear in this GEM under Coming Events.

We now have 52 members from all parts of the state of Utah and one member from each state of Idaho and Arizona. Now we are strangers no more. You just can't stay a stranger very long when you are talking about Tired Iron. These are the greatest people ever.