Klair's First Annual Mill Creek Valley Gas Engine Party

Gas Engine

Bill St. John

Content Tools

2801 Limestone Road, Wilmington, Delaware 19808 June 10-11, 1972

John Porter, Harrington, Delaware loading his Fordson crawler behind Walter Messick's John Deere. Klair's Gas Engine Party June 1972. Joe Brinton photo.

Bill St. John pumped the same water for two days with two pumps and pretty well softened it by Sunday afternoon at the Klair's Gas Engine Party in June of 1972. Joe Brinton Photo.

With the urging of John Futty of North East, Md. and aided by the supervision of gas engine collector of Rising Sun, Md., Jim Riley, who registered the exhibits, the Klair's First Gas Engine Party came into being on their lawn at 2801 Old Limestone Rd., 10 miles West of Wilmington, Delaware on June 10 and 11, 1972. Much credit must be given the good weather that prevailed, cool but sunny for both days. This brought in 90 gas engines, steam models, 2 tractors, 7 water rams, a feed mill and 2 cord wood saw rigs, fodder cutter, groundhog thresher, etc.

Not knowing what to expect there were no public announcements in the area, but word of mouth and friends of exhibitors and passers-by stopping in to see what was going on created an atmosphere of a small friendly country fair. Lawrence Price of Harrington, Del. came in early Friday and Jim and Ann Riley came Friday evening to help get things started.

Mr. Clarence Lintz and son from Freeland, Md. came in with exhibits. Some of the other distant exhibitors were E. M. Egner, Moscow, Pa., Oscar Chapman and son, Victor, from Martinsburg, West Va. Father and son, William and Paul Debolt, Frederick, Md., George and Margaret Matthews from Lakewood, N.J., Sandy Rader with her 1928 Chevy Truck and Hercules engine 100 miles from Whitehall, Pa. Burgoynne Frank from Ellicott City, Md., Ron McVey didn't come very far, but he brought 17 engines, all in running order, or was it 19?

The hamburger and hot dog stand just covered expenses and set the pace again for another free gas engine party for the 9th and 19th of June this year. We cannot find a shingle mill but we have restored an old American sawmill in red and yellow colors with green wheels for the lumber trucks and will set up the family's post-and-rail fence making jigs, and a water tank for our rams and some of the exhibitor's rams. Those who wanted to, parked their vehicles with their engines and this worked out very well. We will keep it informal again this year, since everyone seems to help wherever needed and we want to keep away from too many rules.

We hope the wives will bring exhibits of their hobbies and be a part of the party. An OTTO gas engine will appear on the souvenir button for every exhibitor. A special attraction this year will be a large OTTO horizontal engine shown by Ron McVey and we will have our own 3-1/2 H.P. OTTO on display.

ON the first day two young Delaware State Police Detectives came driving in to see what was going on and seemed to enjoy looking at every engine. They became so interested they came back Sunday to visit the new exhibits that came in that day. Then in the Fall they gave me a summons to appear at their organizational meeting for a free dinner with them and give a picture talk on old engines for the evening's entertainment. Several of them expect to attend this year. Those old putt-putts sure do fascinate people, don't they?

Marvin W. Klair

At top is Sandy Rader who drove this 1928 Chevy Truck 100 miles from Whitehall, Pennsylvania. Her engine is a 1 ? HP Hercules - both restored by Sandy. Klair's Party 1972.

Bottom photo is Bill Shockley, Harrington, Delaware sawing wood with his father-in-law, John Porter, owner of this Galloway Saw Rig. Photos by Joe Brinton.

After forty years of silence, the Fairbanks runs again.

This 6 HP engine sat back in the corner of an elevator from the early 30s until the summer of 72 when Bill decided ti was time to get it running. This engine was bought new by his Dad and I should mention the engine belongs to Bill Thell and his two brothers, Mike and George.

After all of those years, the engine wasn't stuck, but Bill took the piston out and cleaned it up, cleaned the mag and carb, put it back together, filled the tank and on the fourth crank the old girl took off running. Bill has about 30 other engines and about a dozen tractors, all running on steel. Bill Thell with the 6 HP Fairbanks Morse engine.

Looks like Mrs. Reed of Wilmington is planting a bomb under Harold's 7 HP beautifully restored Economy engine, but she must be cleaning it! We'll get a better shot of her this year. This was taken June 1972. Joe Brinton photo.