Mississippi Valley FLYWHEELERS MEET


Thermoil Engine

Content Tools

20201 Arthur Road, Big Rapids, Michigan 49307. 

The Mississippi Valley Flywheelers held their 7th annual Spring Antique Engine Show April 22,23, and 24, 1988. This is one of the most picturesque surroundings in which to display memorabilia of any show it has been my pleasure to attend. It is held in the Hugh White State Park at Grenada, Mississippi. Amidst the trees, with ample shade and paved roads, it makes a most enhancing setting for the old engines.

Included in their exhibits are the old cars, feed grinders, light plants, tractors, and a small operating cotton gin. The cotton gin is mounted on an eighteen foot tandem-wheel trailer, decked over to provide protection from the weather. The gin is powered by a steam engine built at York, Pa., in 1898. It was patented November 26, 1846 by the Eagle Gin Company. This is a beautiful restoration, owned by Joe McCraw of Mason, Tennessee.

One particularly interesting exhibit was a collection of numerous coffee grinders, of all sizes and shapes, from the colonial days to present times, by Quentin Jensen, from Pittsburg, Kansas. A stone grind mill, powered by a small steam engine, was turning out corn meal ground to perfection for making corn muffins.

A comparatively new trend with engine enthusiasts is building their own engine models from an air compressor. Raymond Taylor from Pensacola, Florida exhibited a remarkable example of such a project.

There were 435 engines displayed at the show, with exhibitors from thirteen states. One of the most unique engines displayed was a hit and miss engine, built by John Bednar from Carlisle, Arkansas. It was completely machined from hard maple wood! YES, flywheels, crankshaft, gears, piston, connecting rod, and all of the parts. The most unique part of all is that it actually runs! Mr. Bednar devised a set of valves within the carburetor that permits controlled air pressure, 25 PSI, to force the piston down the cylinder. The valves are controlled by a push rod, operating from the governor as in a conventional engine. The only metal on the engine was the retracting springs and the wood screws!

At a time of year when the trees are still bare in Michigan, it is very refreshing to attend a show where the foliage is at its peak and the flowers, even roses, are in full bloom.

CONGRATULATIONS are in order for the president and secretary of the club, Jimmie and Joan McKinley, respectively, from Jackson, Mississippi, who have devoted so much time to make this show such a success.