The Gas Engine Area at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion

By Staff
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The farm power house at Old Threshers attracts many visitors every year. The power comes from a 5 HP Economy gas engine which powers several different machines inside the building.
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A small part of the 651 gas engines exhibited at the Old Threshers Reunion. Exhibitors came from Iowa and seven other states.
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Another small part of the gas engine exhibit area.
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A young gas engine exhibitor gets his foot into it!
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Donald King from East Moline, Illinois, demonstrates his 1/3 scale Ann Arbor hay press at the 1985 Reunion.

Route 3, Box 78, Mount Pleasant, Iowa 52641

Sunshine and warm temperatures with no rain were enjoyed by all at the annual Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, on August 29 through September 2, 1985. The gas engine area is located in the north part of McMillan Park which is part of the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion grounds. The gas engine area is nestled between the large food tents and the Grandstand (where the Cavalcade of Power and Country Music can be seen daily) and the North Village, where the sheriff and his men hunt down the bank and train robbers. The gunfights thrill the large crowds. To the west is the Antique Car Building, which has many authentic antique cars and trucks.

The first gas engine exhibits of about 20-25 engines were displayed at the 1959 Reunion. In 1985, the largest number of gas engines ever was displayed at Old Threshers. Gas Engine Headquarters registered 247 exhibitors from Iowa and seven other states. These exhibitors brought in 651 engines – an approximate increase over 1984 of 100 engines.

This is one of the fastest growing areas at the Reunion. Most of the exhibitors and their families come to the Reunion with campers where it is a great time to renew old friendships that have lasted for many years.

There is always action in the Gas Engine area with many engines operating saws, corn shellers, corn grinders, a rock crusher and electrical generators generating electricity. There is also the farm powerhouse with a 5 horsepower separator, bread crumber, water pump, butter churn, corn sheller, mill and grain cleaner.

A new exhibit with a gas engine operating a line shaft belted to blacksmith equipment (drill, grinder, metal former, brake etc.) was at the 1985 show. Also, a 1/3 scale Ann Arbor baler, which was very popular with many people standing in line to buy a miniature bale of straw, was exhibited by Donald King of East Moline, Illinois. There are many other very nice exhibits brought in by their proud owners who always have some tall tales to tell about their trying times finding parts, etc.

The Trading Post is also available to provide a service for the exhibitor. Engines and parts can be bought and sold (a 10 per cent commission is charged). Also, an area is set up for vendor spots (10 feet by 20 feet at $50.00 each). A seller can sell or trade engines and parts, car parts, tractor parts, and steam engine parts (vintage 1942 or earlier).

On Saturday night there is a large pot luck for the gas engine exhibitor and their families … what good food and fellowship is enjoyed by all.

Each year, an engine is selected to be the featured engine. In 1985, Old Threshers featured the Associated Engines of Waterloo, Iowa. There were 45 Associated engines represented that year. The gas engines are restored by the owners and some probably look better than they did new.

For the 1986 Reunion (August 28 through September 1), the featured gas engine will be the Waterloo Gas Engine, of Waterloo, Iowa. Production of this engine started in 1893 and continued until 1918 when Deere and Company purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company for $2.1 million dollars. So get your Waterloo engine ready so you can join us and your friends here in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, next Labor Day weekend.

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