Antique Power and Mining

By Staff
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The Fay and Bowen marine engine shown by the museum may be the only survivor of that company. It responded eagerly to a bit of nourishment and a few turns of the flywheel.
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Don Heater assisting Walt Staak as they prepare to unload Walt's Waterloo Boy for some show action.

Pres., Front Range Ant. Power Assn. 13553 West Virginia Drive
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

Imagine a huge Cornish mining engine with Pikes Peak and the
U.S. Air Force Academy in the background! This was the sight
greeting visitors to the second annual Pikes Peak Engine and
Tractor Gas-Up as they emerged from a tree lined lane onto the
grounds of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. Located just
north of Colorado Springs, the museum provided not only an ideal
location, but numerous working exhibits of their own. Held this
year over the June 4-5 weekend, the show was one of several in
which our club, The Front Range Antique Power Association,
participated during the 1988 season.

Approximately 100 gas engines were shown. Notable among these
were Earl Thiebaud’s 15 H.P. Mogul and Del Donaldson’s 20
H.P. Witte. The writer’s 2 HP vertical Dempster made its show
circuit debut. A highlight of engine row was Ori Olestad’s John
Deere powered corn meal operation. A lot of folks went home with a
sack of their first-ever ‘real’ corn meal.

Perhaps the most interesting engines were two displayed by the
museum. The Cornish walking beam, while not yet operational, was
impressive. Imported from England around 1840, this behemoth
provided power for the Vaucluse gold mine in Orange Co., Virginia.
Ravaged by the Civil War, it lay forgotten until 1931 when a series
of events, initiated by Heny Ford, led to its salvage and ultimate
new home.

Another museum entry on engine row was the two cylinder Fay and
Bowen marine engine. Having originally served in a 25 ft. launch on
Lake Leelanan, Michigan, this rare jewel somehow found its way west
where it has hidden in the museum’s warehouse since 1977. It
was a real thrill to hook up a coil, add some gas, and after a few
pulls on the flywheel, hear it pop into life. It was interesting to
note that the cylinders carried consecutive serial numbers,
indicating that the basic one cylinder models were simply bolted
together to achieve the desired horsepower. Presently, this is the
only lay and Bowen known to have survived.

Tractor enthusiasts had their day. Not only having fun with
their toys, these gentlemen provided entertainment in a three class
tractor pull each day. In class A (light), full pull honors went to
Del Donaldson on his 1936 Allis WC. Class B full pulls were
recorded by Mike Moberley’s 1938 WK-40 and Buster Voris’
1937 F-30 Farmall. Wyman Vanning with his 1949 Oliver 99 and Dick
Pickrel astride his John Deere 820 pulled away with Class C honors.
Thanks to the spacious rural setting of the museum grounds, there
was ample room for the tractor folk to play. Walt Staack toured the
grounds giving rides on his Waterloo Boy.

Joining forces with a museum or other complementing attraction
is an ideal approach to staging a show. Our club has used this
approach exclusively, finding that it solves most of the usual
problems with minimum effort. The success of our first venture with
the Western Museum of Mining and Industry leaves no doubt this show
will fast become a regional event. Other clubs, particularly those
just starting out, may want to consider this approach. Watch for us
in June of ’89. You and your family and your old iron will be
made welcome.

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