WATER WORLD: A Show Featuring Pumps At The Blue Mountain Gas & Steam Show

Lloyd Osmun and his Backus water motor

Lloyd Osmun and his Backus water motor.

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969 Iron Bridge Rd Mount joy, Pennsylvania 17552

At the Blue Mountain show, I passed a lady wearing a tee shirt which said, 'If Mama's not happy, ain't nobody happy.' Well, this 'Mama' was very happy at the grove in Jacktown, Pennsylvania, on July 16th, 1998.

The best retirement benefit for a gas engine guy is the opportunity to arrive early and pick a choice spot at a show. All was quiet when we turned in the driveway. As I gazed at the well-manicured grounds, I could see there had been a lot of planning and preparation. In fact I was told about a group of men known as 'The Boys' who often meet at the grounds and on occasion at the diner in Bangor. They are the ones who keep the grove lookin' so good. They also do other club projects as well on a regular basis. These 'boys' are leaving a grand legacy for the younger generation.

This was the first I had seen the area that once had been dense, unusable underbrush transformed into a beautiful shady, grassy park-like setting. To make us comfortable and to add a friendly touch, unusual light-weight portable chairs which come in sections were set around the grounds. These chairs are easily moved at will to watch a demonstration or just to sit in the shade and reflect. I think Al Stickney asked Lloyd Osmun St., if the club would be interested in some chairs and he said, 'sure.' Lloyd has great vision and always wants everyone to be happy at the show. What a guy!

We chose a spot at the rear so we could have our truck camper with our display. As we finished setting up our display, it seemed the activity began. From our vantage point, we watched the many brands of tractors arrive and fill up their designated area. We saw huge dump trucks unload gigantic logs for the saw mill, and smaller logs for the drag saw, shingle and planer operations.

Also arriving and placed near the saw mill was an unusual machine called the Morgan Lock Corner Cutter manufactured in 1896. Among other things, it was used to make finger joint boxes for the shipment of Remington typewriters. It dawned on me that in the future people will be collecting old typewriters and kids will be asking, 'What are those things?' This machine is owned by Mark and Dawn Cromley from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania who work very hard: at their exhibit as they make souvenir finger joint boxes branded on the lid with the club's logo. The boxes made an unusual and useful souvenir.

Then came the truck bringing the gigantic In gersol-Rand oil engine once used at the I-R plant in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. This is an eight cylinder, 101/2' bore, 12' stroke, 8308 CI, 1000 HP at 720 Max r.p.m. The engine was built in 1936. A diesel motor is used to start the big engine. When show time for this is about to begin, the engine guys pick up the four-seat benches, plunk them down, sit with their arms folded and watch it run. Although I could see no visible moving parts, the absolute power the emanates from it is fascinating. I have a picture of a giant piston once used in it. This engine is owned by Joe Stasyshyn.

Bob Mayberry from Port Murray, New Jersey, demonstrated his craft by making 'furniture-for-fun' from logs with a Stihl chain saw.

This was the first year that I had seen the new gazebo which is used for musical entertainment during the evenings of the event and the Sunday morning church service. The public has always been invited to this show at no charge, day or evening. It's a real family event which touches many generations.

Friday evening the tractors lined up to pull their way to the finish line, and Saturday afternoon there was a child's tractor pull. There were so many children involved, the big guys had to wait to make their parade around the grounds. No one was in a hurry.

Nearby the I-R engine, Herb Bedell of Masonville, New York, set up a row of small engines, not your usual ones but unique designs. One of his small engines included a very nice brass lamp as a pump. Could this have come from one of his wife's best living room lamps? I bet she has to keep an eye on everything in the house. Last winter he also made a new shiny dark green, very small two-seater truck trimmed in red with a surrey on the top. I hope he takes me for a ride next year.

Lloyd Osmun Sr., brought a large rare Backus Water Motor nicely restored in bright red. It was manufactured in June of 1894 in Newark, New Jersey. It is a very sharp-looking engine. I saw Lloyd at Rough & Tumble, and he said with a little smile he's looking to trade it for a 1935 Harley-Davidson.

Will Bullivant of Asbury, New Jersey, had an interesting display of about twenty-five antique regular size sewing machines. I saw a very nice one with mother-of-pearl flowers set on the base. To my surprise, it was made in 1875 by the Providence Tool Company in Rhode Island, my home state. I noticed when he was packing up to leave he brushed each one with a special spray applied to a big black soft brush and carefully dusted them inside and out before covering them. I wonder if he helps out at home.

Speaking of sewing machines, Judith Burmeister of Fountainville, Pennsylvania, was working away at her 1910 Singer treadle machine. This year she was making an unusually beautiful multi-colored rug. Her talent for braiding and her knowledge of sewing is remarkable. She also has a nice display of very sweet teddy bears which she makes.

Next I ventured into 'Lathe City.' I found a lathe operated by a huge, beautifully crafted wooden wheel called a 'Great Wheel.' When hand-cranked it is the power for the lathe that turns out wooden objects. I watched a pedal-operated wood lathe turning out a rolling pin. This International Famous lathe was manufactured in 1900, and is owned by Jack and Doris Shelly. Jack and Doris enjoy working with the youth of today to encourage their creativity. Barry Werner of Bedminster was using a pedal-powered metal lathe which was turning out fancy brass punches.

I went by Leonard Haring of Ore-field, Pennsylvania who makes miniature hay bales on a model 1926 John Deere baler (1/6 scale of the original). He and a friend were working feverishly to repair a temporary snag so he could continue to make and give away the little bales. The bales are the perfect thing to use with miniature farm equipment in your family room over the winter when you get 'gas engine show fever.'

I stopped to talk to Gary and Alan Ruschman from East Stroudsburg. They had a display of toy steam engines hooked up to wonderful little working toys that do their thing. A 1/2 HP New Holland engine and compressor power the steam engines and the fancy little animated toys. To name a few, there was a windmill with water trough, a Bing water pump, a sausage maker made in 1950, and a Bing butter churn made in 1902. Also they had a fire tower with firemen climbing up the tower. My favorite was a tiny wooden lady Alan hand-carved using as a model a picture from a book. She was moving up and down bending over a washboard scrubbing clothes. Alan showed me a book, 'Steam Toys, A Symphony in Motion' by Martin Hirschberg. It blew my mind to see all the beautiful and intricate toys of the past. Pictured in the book was a Marklin Fauground Carousel which today will sell for $80,000. It's sad to think this creativity ended abruptly with the advent of WWII.

I am finally getting to the reason I entitled this article 'Water World.' The show featured pumps. It was interesting to see the great number of exhibitors who participated in this special event by bringing their engines/pumps out to the show.

There were several trailers filled with, if I may say, pretty pumps painted in many bright colors. I took a picture of an old Model A Ford truck with the restored wooden bed filled with a really nice collection of old pumps.

Bud Wakefield of Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, had a very interesting collection of many good-looking restored pumps. He told me his favorite is a Myers deep well manufactured in 1920. I found something else I liked among these pumps. It is a cast iron alligator lawn sprinkler about a foot long. He is a very interesting old fellow not Bud, the alligator. Bud is searching for the old iron turtle and duck sprinklers to be 'Allie's' companions. Anyone have any extra sprinklers?

Barry Navarre of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, set up for action hydraulic ram models, a water powered fan and a water powered egg beateryes I said 'egg beater.' He also had a very nice 1/2 scale model of a corn sheller designed by the late Bruce Moyer. As I looked down I saw in his unique and well-engineered display of two motors, one red and one black, hanging from a special reservoir which was set on a stand. The water motors were pumping water into a galvanized tub. They were shaped something like my old hair dryer.

I talked to a gentleman parked next to me who had an outstanding fancy light blue pump with lattice work on it among his collection. He told me how he acquired it. He was driving down the road when he spotted this pump used as a stand for a mail box. (This idea had to come from a woman.) He noticed the house was for sale. He contacted the realtor and was awarded the pump for just asking. How about that!Just ask and receive.

There were two young boys who set up very nice displays. One had a very nice collection of John Deere farm equipment. The other young fellow had a collection of tractors and operated his model train for onlookers. I am sorry I didn't get their names.

The family emphasis came into focus further when I noticed many fathers taking time to stop and explain the design and function of this old equipment to their children as they passed by our New Way engines.

I have one more story with a moral that will encourage you to 'never give up.' It's about our buddy from New England, Norm Jones, who lives at 28 Locust Road in Chelmsford, Massachusetts 01824. We met Norm years ago at Rough &. Tumble. Every now and then he would mention his Lowell gas engine made by the Lowell Model Company in Lowell, Massachusetts, that needed parts.

After fifteen years of searching for information, his heart raced as he came face to face with a working engine practically in his own backyard at the Straw Hollow Show in Boyleston, Massachusetts. Imagine thatthe search was over.

Norm was able that day, thanks to Bob Ring of Wakefield, Massachusetts, to take measurements of the two dozen parts he needed. During the winter months of 1998 he built the entire governor mechanism, battery saver circuit, and the entire exhaust valve assembly. He also added ignition parts. He made a brass water tank.

The engine is thermo-siphoned. The hot water will rise to the top. It flows into the top of the column. As the water cools it sinks. The Lowell has a piston tripped igniter mechanism. This engine and what it was used for is listed in C. H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872. It seems to an exact duplicate of the Gillespie 1/2 HP engine made by the L. W. Gillespie &. Company in Marion, Indiana.

Norm's pride and joy, the Lowell gas engine, had its first run at the Blue Mountain Show this July. Norm also asked me to give credit to John Rex and Bill Lopoulas who were a great help in the completion of this project. Norm also builds models and can be found hanging out at the very busy model pavilion.

The Lowell engine is of particular interest to me as many of my father's family resided in Lowell, Massachusetts. If anyone has one of these engines, contact Norm. (If there are any of my long lost cousins out there, please contact me.)

We checked out the club's large Watts Campbell 100 HP steam engine which has Corliss type valves. This engine is installed on a concrete base. My husband, Ed, told me it was an excellent restoration job. You can expect to see it running on steam power by the October show. The engine is located in the large, brown storage building to the rear of the display area.

Thank you to all who patiently provided me with the information to write this article. I have tried to be accurate.

Yes, 'Mama was a happy camper that weekend. A collector at heart, she loves to look at the things people collect, build and restore. Oh yes, the ice cream at Jacktown is 'out of this world.'