Century of Farm Power Exhibition JANUARY 2000

By Staff
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View of the exhibition with the exhibits in place.
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Cottage Crosshouse, by Kilmarnock Scotland KA2 OBG

A group of Scottish vintage enthusiasts in January 1999 were
lamenting about the poor season they had in 1998. Many events had
been either canceled or decimated by a summer with record
rainfalls.

A suggestion was made that to celebrate the Millennium an indoor
exhibition should be organized. Twenty-three vintage clubs from
Scotland and northern England got together and formed the
Millennium Farm Power Association. An executive committee of ten
people were elected to organize what turned out to be the largest
exhibition of its kind ever to be held in the United Kingdom.

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland granted
us the use of their exhibition hall which had a total floor space
of 6,000 square meters, at a reduced rental. The National
Millennium Fund donated $7,500 US to fund the initial costs. The
Tractor and Machinery Magazine became a sponsor with advertising
and awards for a tractor concours competition. Together with
various donations from other sources, this covered our setup costs
of over $20,000. It was decided that all the profit would be
donated to The Royal Agricultural Scottish Benevolent Institution,
a charity which assists country people who have fallen on hard
times.

A decision was taken that one tractor of every make and model
which had ever worked in Scotland should be invited to attend. One
hundred and fifty owners of those machines accepted the invitation
to take part, the oldest machine being the 1902 British-built Ivel.
Next in line was a 1917 International Mogul. Completing the line
was another range of 50 exhibits of threshing machinery, balers and
the latest material handlers together with the most modern tractors
available. The rest of the floor space was filled with vintage
exhibits of all kinds, including an 1897 Murchland milking machine
and a 1903 Melvin water engine which operated a church organ in
Edinburgh.

The 1902 Ivel owned by John E. Moffitt. Believed to be the
oldest tractor in preservation in the UK.

1942 Minneapolis Moline UTS owned by Ian Johnston. Overall
winner of the Concours competition. Picture shows it driven by the
owner with the threshing machine it powered during and after
WWII.

In the balconies, a range of club stands and sales stalls
completed the picture. In an outside hall, Clydesdale horses were
on display with their carts and other implements. A working
blacksmith was a great favorite with the visitors.

The time to lay out the hall was limited. Work began at 8:00
a.m. on Friday morning. Marking out the hall was the first task.
Exhibits were arriving from all over Scotland and northern England.
Tractors were parked in an outside shed whilst the layout was being
prepared. By noon, the early tractors on steels were in position.
From then till late on the evening, the hall gradually filled up.
Most of the tractors had to be washed on arrival as frosty roads
had been salted and owners were keen to keep their treasures
corrosion free. Opening time was 12:30 p.m. By noon every exhibit
was in position. Only one exhibit was missing, and that was because
of a family bereavement. When the doors opened, there was a massive
lineup outside the hall awaiting admission.

1917 Fordson F with 1925 Detroit Harvester Co. mid mounted
mower, owned by Jim Neil. Note the unique drive from tractor
differential.

On the Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, 10,000 people came
through the doors. By Sunday evening, food stalls were sold out,
stall holders had a busy time, and exhibitors were delighted with
interest shown in their exhibits. One veteran exhibitor said that
in 25 years of exhibiting he had never had so much interest shown
in his stall.

In the three Concours classes the winners were:

1900-39: 1920 Gray from A. Robertson; 1940-59: 1942 MM UTS from
Ian Johnston; 1959-75: 1962 MF 35, from S. Barbour.

All three get travel expenses to travel to compete in the
National Championships in England in November 2001.

Ian Johnston’s 1942 MM UTS was the winner of the overall
trophy.

The result of all the effort put into the event, a sum of over
$30,000, will be handed over to the Royal Scottish Agricultural
Benevolent Institution. A commemorative plaque was awarded to every
participant. A professionally prepared video is available from
Caledonia Vision, 17, Islay Crescent, Paisley, Scotland PA2 8HD,
telephone and fax 44(0) 1505 816876.

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