The 2015 show season is upon us, and for me that means deciding which shows to attend. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that my show habits are kind of like my eating habits; My eyes are almost always bigger than my stomach, as I seem to believe I can attend more shows than the reality of work and family actually affords.
That’s not exactly a bad problem, because it underscores the vitality of the old iron community and the insatiable appetite for sharing vintage engines and tractors. The release of the 41st Annual Farm Collector Show Directory has me looking through the offerings, and there are two shows in particular that jump out at me this year.
The first one is the Summer Expo and Flea Market at the Coolspring Power Museum in Coolspring, Pennsylvania, June 18-20, 2015. If you’ve never been to Coolspring before, this will be a particularly good year to attend. This year’s event is billed as “The Flame Ignition Expo,” with flame ignition and slide-valve engines the feature. These were among the earliest types of engines, and Coolspring has several in its collection. It’s anticipated collectors will bring more than a few rarely seen to show.
The event celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Coolspring Museum, and in attendance helping celebrate will be engine historian and master builder Wayne Grenning, who is wrapping up a seminal history on flame ignition engines. Years in the making, Wayne’s roughly 600-page book looks at the history and development of these engines. Featuring a wealth of material never published before, the book looks at different types of early gas engines from U.S. and European companies, including atmospheric engines, non-compression engines, 2-stroke, 4-stroke and even 6-stroke designs. As I undertand it, Wayne will have the book finished and it will be available at the Coolspring Expo.
The second event that sticks out is the annual engine extravaganza that is the Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor show in Portland, Indiana, Aug. 26-30, 2015. The Portland show is the largest gas engine and tractor show in the world, and this will be the 50th annual show, a milestone in the gas engine community.
Like Coolspring, Portland features a dizzying array of engines, featuring makes and types rarely seen anywhere else. This year’s features are John Deere tractors and Pennsylvania-built engines, a state that turned out more interesting and important engines than perhaps any other.