Water Wheels

Courtesy Robert Rogers - FARM MUSEUM - Dillon, S. C.

Robert Rogers

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R.R.2 , Zeeland, Michigan 49464

The 5th Annual Gas-Up of the Riverbend Steam and Gas Ass'n was held July 3 and 4 at Allendale Michigan in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the little town of Allendale, midway between Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan. As the date was almost a full month ahead of regular show time, it was doubtful for a little while if we would have grain to thresh. But nature has a way of being on time and there was barley ready by July 1, so plans were made to start moving machinery into the park on July 2 and load some barley and haul it in, but on the afternoon of the 2nd as the barley was being loaded the sky opened up and down came the rain. Two loads were hurriedly put under cover and we went home for some dry clothes.

July 3rd saw a lot of long faces at the park as it was still sprinkling and the weather man said more of the same, but by 10:00 o'clock the sun came out and everybody started to cheer, and by 3:00 o'clock everything was in full swing.

One small hitch developed as one of the old Steamers sprouted a leak in the ask pit, so she was shut down and drained. One of the club members was prevailed upon to go and get his portable welder and crawl in the inners of the boiler and put on a temporary patch and soon the old girl was back on the sawmill working away as if nothing had ever happened. Her name was 'Advance-Rumley' and owned by Jay Bowers (club member).

A Shingle Mill owned by Sharon Schut and powered by a 7 H. P. engine owned by club member Tom Rosema also was operating. Bud Rosema had his 15-30 Oil Pull on the Baker Fan, and after a session on the fan, over to the sawmill to make the saw just ring. At the same time club member John Huitema had his 30-50 Oil Pull on the thresher and she was doing her share there. After John unbelted and backed away, club member Gordon Stroven was waiting to belt up his 20-40 Oil Pull. In the meantime Tom Rosema's Int. Titan was on an old hand-feed and hand-tie baler owned by club members Claude Scholma and son, Lee, and Boy were those bales heavy. I think some of them were over 100 lbs. not to Be out done. Sharon Schut had his old hand feed Sterling thresher going (Vintage 1900) powered by a 6 h.p. screen cooled Int. 1905. Sharon also had a Hocking Valley Sheller going powered by a 2-1/2 h.p. Stover.

One of the oldest pieces of equipment was a horse powered sweep belted up to a Owens #4 double cyl. bean thresher. Owner Bud Rosema was to be complimented on his ability to find beans to thresh. When the horses were taken off a group of young people took over and furnished the power for a while.

Titan 10-20 overlooking Interstate 95 Highway at Dillon, S.C. The new showgrounds covers over 100 acres consisting of a 1000 foot wide strip bordering one and one-half miles on I-95. Large engines and water wheels replace billboards for publicity. We need operators for approximately 1000 tons of steam, gas, and water powered equipment. So if you want to 'ride light' in coming to the Reunion April 19-20-21-1974, come operate our engines and stuff.

No gas problems here so far.

Some of the old tractors that were eye-catching were Cross Engine Case 12-27, Cross Engine Minn. Moline 22-44, D John Deere 1923, several old Hubers and too many more to mention. Some very outstanding old gas engines were shown, among them were a 8 h.p. Galloway shown by guest Steve Repta from Muskegon. Guest Gordon Babcock from Holland had his nicely restored 15 h.p. Fairbanks, which he had belted up to a 115 year old stone flour mill, owned by member Claude Scholma. Member Claire Dalman had a trailer load of nicely restored engines, all of them running at one time or another. Points of interest were a 2 h.p. Upright Fairbanks year 1902 and a 1919 1-1/2 h.p. Int. running balanced on 4 upright pop bottles. Needless to say this got a lot of attention.

July 4 dawned bright and clear, and it was the day for the big parade. At 9 o'clock everybody lined up for the parade. Old equipment, antique cars, marching bands and drum and bugle corps, and then back to the park for a big day of threshing, baling, shingle making, sawing, flour making, etc. There never was a dull moment until nearly dark.

Maybe the biggest hit of the day was when the Club decided not to bale all the straw, but to turn the straw pile over to the kids, and believe me that was a picnic. Out of the 50 or 60 kids on the pile I think not more than 2 or 3 had ever played in a straw pile before. It was something to behold. They all went home with the straw pile itch, but they all had a big time.

I am sure that I have left out some of the things that took place in those two days, but I assure you not intentionaly. We wish to give a hearty vote of thanks to all who took part and gave of their time and talent so generously. We wish to thank all our visitors who came to look and stayed to chat and visit a while. Something like 7,000 were there for the 2 day show and program put on by the Chamber of Commerce. We also thank the good Lord for blessing us with good weather and for watching over and keeping us free from harm and accidents for the entire show.

Yours for a bigger and better in 1974.

Shots of some nice Hubers - at top, a 40-62 Huber Super Four, with my son, Andy, seated on the tractor. Center is a 1926-1836 Huber Super Four and at bottom is a 20-36 Huber Light Four. These tractors are shown every year at the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher Reunion at Rollag, Minnesota. [Noel owns these nice-looking Hubers].