Allis Chalmers

Allis Chalmers display at the 1989 show.

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613 8th Avenue, Charles City, Iowa 50616

The Cedar Valley Engine Club had a real good year. Our oat crop was excellent in spite of the dry weather. We had a little rain couple of the nights during the show, but it didn't seem to hold the crowd back and it settled the dust for us. In fact, two weeks before the show we were worried that it was going to be so dusty that people wouldn't come. It was really dry out here in northern Iowa this year.

We had people from all over again this year, from as far away as England. We featured the Allis Chalmers and Rumely equipment line this year and we had a good, big exhibit of machinery and tractors. There were several Rumely tractors, including a big 90 horse Rumely steam engine. It's a big, heavy, nicely-built steam engine and it is in good shape too. It does a good job on the saw mill or the threshing machine. We usually put it on the saw mill because it's the biggest engine we've got.

We had our big Fairbanks Morse 3 cylinder semi-diesel engine mounted on concrete this year. We have been very fortunate with this engine. It came from a railroad crane and was donated by a man who lives near Winona, Minnesota. A member of our club used to work on them in his younger days and had even gone to Fairbanks Morse school. We took the engine to his home in Stacyville, Iowa and he restored it there. A year ago, we had it running at the show while sitting on some wooden blocks, but that wasn't satisfactory. This past summer, we got busy and dug some foundations, poured some concrete, and had it bolted down solid. It's a real nice showpiece. It takes quite a while to start it, but that's really the show spot of it. The blow torches must be started first. The flame blows onto a glow plug that in turn heats up the head and the water that is in the head. The water temperature must be about 160 degrees. There is also an air tank that must have about 160 pounds of pressure. This air is used to turn over the engine, and it usually starts the first piston up. It's a nice show piece and quite an attention-getter.

Then we have another big single cylinder engine that belongs to Eldon Hungerford. We mounted that on concrete too. We started to build a machine shed to put over these engines, but didn't get it completed this fall. It froze up too quick.

My two sons have a two-hole corn sheller that is a real good exhibit. They run the sheller almost all day, each day of the show, shelling one large wagon-load of corn. They use my 8 HP Waterloo Boy engine, which I understand is a rare engine. It sat for about forty years before I got a hold of it. It has good compression and runs beautifully now. It's more power than they need on a 2-hole sheller, but it works well.

Then we did the usual threshing of oats, ran two machines, about three loads of bundles each day. We had a new addition to the club this year. One of our young fellows saw a 28 inch Red River Special threshing machine south of Green, near Allison. He stopped to see the guy and the guy gave it to him. He wanted to use my big Oliver 900 to go down there and get it because it has a fast road gear in it, so I told him he could use the tractor if he gave me half interest in the threshing machine.

Then one day I was sitting in the mall in Charles City and a guy from Clarksville came along and sat down beside of me and we got to talking about different things. I have quite a lot of relatives down around Clarksville. He said, 'You know, I have an 18-36 Hart Parr that my father-in-law bought new, and I'd like to have some help with it. The fan jimmed the radiator and there are a few other things wrong with it.' Well, I didn't get down to see him right away and I saw him again in the mall and he begged me to come down and help him. I said, 'How about selling it?' I bought it from him and let that young friend of mine who got the Red River threshing machine have it. He went clear through it and got it all repainted. It looks better than when it was brand new. So that was a new addition to our show this year.

The threshing machine we usually use is a Huber. We run that with a steam engine. We also have a corn shredder. One of our members cuts some corn in the fall of the year and stores it in his barn until the next Labor Day. Then he loads it up again to bring out to the show, and shreds the corn fodder. A lot of young folks don't know what that is. I've run an old 6-hole McCormick shredder in my younger days, fed from both sides. The guys lay the bundles up there and cut the bands for you and boy we could shred fodder. So I knew about corn shredders. Fed lots of it.

We wish we had a place to plow, but our space is limited here on account of the farm program. Most of us have seen plowing done anyway.

Our big Norberg Corliss cross-compound steam air compressor engine that came from the Rumely factory is a real showpiece. The boys really got it running good at about 15-20 rpm, and there's absolutely no sound except for the clicking of the valves. It's exhausted outside, but because it is a cross-compound engine, there is not much noise to the exhaust either.

This coming year we are going to feature Oliver/Hart-Parr, and I invite all of you to come. We started in 1966, so this will be our 25th anniversary show. We got our figures mixed up there for a while. We're looking forward to having a lot of Oliver and Hart-Parr tractors there. Of course, there are a lot of them in this area. Anyone that wants to bring one and show with us are welcome, we'll be glad to have them bring it. You might even come a day or two before the show and help us set up.

There is a new club that is starting up here in Charles City called the Hart-Parr/Oliver Club. A number of people are interested, one of whom is related to the Hart family. You may see other articles about it.

Besides all this, Iowa is just a good place to visit, especially northern Iowa. The Little Brown Church in the Vale is about nineteen miles from the show grounds, or about twelve miles southeast of Charles City. It's really an old landmark, that Little Brown Church in the Vale. I wish we had a quartet that would sing that song some day out to the show grounds. I love that old song, 'The Little Brown Church in the Vale.' Of course, my mother went to Sunday School there some of the time, and I've attended church there.

Of course we have the usual run of tractors: International, Farmall, John Deere, Massey Harris, and Case. We've got a 1914 or 1915 two cylinder Post Case, either a 12-24 or 12-25. I don't know which it is. It was owned down here south of Charles City. It's never been repainted and you can see some of the original decals on it. I wish they could be brought out. There's a fellow from Plainfield who comes up and runs it; he also ran it as a young man. It's a funny-sounding engine, that two cylinder Post. If it's running anywhere on the grounds and you go to do any recording, that's about all you can hear, that old two cylinder Case. It's a good tractor, as far as I know it's never been overhauled or anything.

You can see most all the different brands at our show. We never know what we're going to have. That's what makes these shows interesting-to anticipate what someone's going to bring in that is new and unusual. We have the usual run of gas engines, just about name it and we've got it, as well as a lot of unusual ones.

A lot of the young folks in our club are really getting interested in these old engines. It's fascinating to them. It's history. And we should support our young people and help them to get interested and keep history coming alive, because us old guys are not going to be here forever. Some of us think we're going to be, but I'm afraid we've got another guess coming.

You have to come and see for yourself. We're seven miles west of Charles City, Iowa on Highway 14; as you go around the bend, look to the right where 14 goes straight south. We're there on the right of what we call the Rockford road. It's out in the country. We have the old barn and the house, corn crib, and hog house where we have flea market. We also have a good lunch stand, door prize drawing at 4 o'clock, and a bandshell where our live old time music is performed. Show dates are September 1, 2, and 3, 1990.