A Vermont Yankee at an Ozark Engine Show

2 HP Gade

2 HP Gade owned by David Niles, Little Rock, Arkansas

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P.O. Box 6 Wilmington, Vermont 05363

Those of us who collect old engines and reside in the parts of the country where there are two seasons, winter and August, or winter and about six weeks of poor sledding, have a choice when the weather is blowing snow and 20 degrees below. We can fix a warm place to work on our treasures and get them ready for the next show season, or leave for the parts of the country where one does not have to put the sparkplugs in the oven during breakfast or pour boiling water into the water hopper to start the engine in the morning, and where engine shows are held all year long.

Having chosen the latter alternative, and with the assistance of the Coming Events section of the Gas Engine Magazine and the 1994 Show Directory, we attended the second annual Old Time Power Show, sponsored by the Central Arkansas Old Time Power Association, at the Court House Square, Sheridan, Arkansas, April 15 & 16, 1994. We attended on Saturday, the 16th, a beautiful day. The forecast for the 15th had been rather grim.

The show was truly in 'The Court House Square.' The two streets on each side of the courthouse were closed to allow space for the exhibits, which were also on the lawn and on the street in front of the courthouse.

The number of well restored items displayed was impressive. James W. Mann of Sheridan, the enthusiastic organizer of the show, stated that many area businesses had contributed to the support of the show. It was truly a community effort.

The exhibits included 96 engines, 17 automobiles and 10 tractors. Exhibitors came from Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

Three 'Peoples' Choice' awards were given, one to Larry Carver of Nashville, Arkansas, for his 1937 John Deere 'B,' one to Bill Langley of Little Rock, Arkansas, for his 1940 Bantam pickup truck, and one to Tom and Joyce Brown of Leonard, Oklahoma, for their 1920 15 HP Fairbanks Morse engine.

One of the most interesting exhibits was by A. Wayne Cox of Star City, Arkansas, 'Builder, Owner and Operator of the World's Smallest Steam Powered Cotton Gin.' Wayne had built the entire unit, including the reversible model steam engine. It appeared that the model gin, which actually worked, was powered by the steam engine that was being run with compressed air. How ever, the actual power for the gin was a very cleverly concealed electric motor.

Wayne would readily disassemble the gin to show how it worked. We learn in grade school history that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, thus making cotton growing profitable, but the history books do not tell us how it worked.

Wayne had a good supply of cotton and passed out unginned cotton bolls and seeds. He takes his models to schools for demonstrations. 

There were two lunch carts on the grounds, dispensing the usual hot dogs and hamburgers, and the most delicious fish and fries. Other restaurants were within walking distance of the show. Provisions were made to accommodate campers.

This show has a great future. Who knows, next year there may be a display of engine-powered washing machines in the judge's chambers!