Southern Tier Antique Gas & Steam Engine Association

Row of tractors

The 1989 row of tractors.

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Box 55, Nineveh, New York 13813

On August 25, 26, 27, 1989 the Southern Tier Antique Gas and Steam Engine Association held their fifteenth annual field day and reunion at the Maine Village Park, Maine, NY. There are two parts to the Association. They are the Satellite Club, which is a working club where members go to each other's houses to work on engines and solve their mechanical problems, and the Association itself, the business end of it.

Every year the club has grown and the village park, with its nice pavilions and many acres of flat level land, has become too small for our many exhibits and camper parking. Thus, the club is in the process of buying land. They have started a fund for such a purpose. In the near future we hope to have a much larger place with our own pavilions, club house and a place to work on engines. We'd even like to grow things to harvest and demonstrate the way of life years ago.

The 1989 show had many of the old faces and the standby exhibits. As usual there were many new faces and exhibits, some for the first time. One first time exhibit was Crosby Sheeley P.O. Box 132, Cottekill, New York 12419, with his recently restored 'Auto Red Bug' driven by a Smith motor wheel. Mr. Sheeley believes that Smith Motor Wheel was a supplier to Briggs and Stratton.

There were many unusual and scarce tractors. One in particular was a 1957 Bantam tractor, owned by George Hawn, which was not much larger than the ones children use in tractor pulls. George rescued this piece of rusty iron three weeks before the show. Come show time, it looked like brand new. Ralph Loomis's Oil Pull made its fifteenth appearance. The last fourteen years it operated his shingle mill at the show. This year the shingle mill was idle. Ralph could not find suitable blocks to make shingles. Logs have become too expensive to make and give shingles away to spectators.

We had numerous old cars and trucks. The 1950 Crossley looked like it came of the showroom floor; the 1928 Chevrolet 1 ton truck and a 1930 Ford pickup didn't look bad either. There was a scale model of a Model T and about a half scale model of a 1903 Cadillac.

Many scarce and unusual engines made an appearance, ranging from a 40 HP Bouvier to models on display. It seems that every foundry in the 20's and 30's made an engine. Some of these engines were made locally and never left this section of the country. A real scarce engine was a washing machine engine made in Germany with Bosch ignition.

The auction sale was held at 1 o'clock Saturday and lasted all afternoon. It was supposed to be engine related, but one nice wagon found its way in. I guess this thing had horsepower too. The auction had everything from junk to engines in mint condition. One of the club members recently died and his engines went through the auction.

The Smiths, who run a restaurant in Whitney Point (a little village just down the road a whoop and holler), set up in one of the pavilions and served the usual Friday night banquet with strawberry shortcake for dessert. It is a favorite dessert of many club members.

The Maine American Legion had their third chicken barbecue in the other pavilion. The weather was great and people were buying chicken faster than they could cook it. They ran out of chicken Sunday afternoon disappointing a few people. No one was disappointed Saturday, some people went back more than once. In fact, one energetic young married man was a glutton. Saturday he had chicken for breakfast, chicken for dinner, chicken for supper and when he bedded down for the night had the nerve to ask his wife for another piece of cold chicken.

Many cakes were devoured that were won in the cake walk. This is strictly a female affair. The women bake the cakes and donate them. The money goes to their pet charity or wherever they choose. The cake walk is nothing more than people sitting down to a large picnic table with 35 numbered paper plates tacked to it. When each plate has a dime on it, the winning number is drawn from a box of numbered ping pong balls.

There was a blacksmith exhibit with two blacksmiths, one of whom makes weathervanes. Another exhibit was a cider mill owned by Carl Smith who alternates with his grain grinding mill, and both are powered by antique engines.

Gloria Driscoll ran the flea market, which in itself is quite a drawing card and contributes to the club treasury. People find things they just can't live without. Some of our women visitors never got further than the flea market.

The Maine Community Band played many numbers and church services were held before any engines were started. The show was taped and shown Saturday night to many people who wanted to see themselves on TV.

Prizes in the raffle included an engine, a hand-forged weathervane, and a handmade afghan. Raffle proceeds went into the fund to buy land.

The 1989 show is history now, but the plans for the 1990 show are underway. There will not be many changes, just some new faces. Every year it is held the last weekend in August so as not to conflict with the other shows in the area.

We wish to thank all of our guests and the general public for their support. We promise them another nice show next year. We hope to see new faces to replace those that time takes away.