Green Mountian Magic

By Staff
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Stuart Davis' nicely restored air-cooled 1-3/4 HP 1915 United Type A, serial no. 82018.
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Getting ready for the show.
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Alden Piper's 8 HP 1918 Simplicity, serial no. BE4986.
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Bill Thorneloe's Manns Green Bone Cutter. Note that the 'N' in 'Bone' is cast backwards.
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William and Valerie Castimore's 4 HP circa 1916 Meco.
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Based in the Midwest as we are, when folks around the Gas Engine
Magazine office think of gas engine show sites, they tend to
conjure up images of flat, open fields and the occasional grove of
trees. But in Vermont there’s almost no such thing, and instead
of looking for level land for show sites, engine collectors there
look for vistas and accessibility. This year’s Vermont Gas and
Steam Engine Association Show, held on the grounds of the Old Blair
Farm outside of Warren, Vt., provided both, with a definite
emphasis on vistas.

The Old Blair Farm belongs to Ken and Fran Blair, and it’s
doubtful a better location for a show exists. Situated in the
famous Mad River Glen area of west-central Vermont, the Old Blair
Farm sits high on a ridge, with broad, sweeping views of the Mad
River Glen below and the Green Mountains beyond. It’s a
stunning location, especially for a flatlander, and it’s just
that much better when it’s accompanied by the sights and sounds
of old engines.

Bob Williams’ 1-1/2 HP Empire and his Davis Swing Churn.
Empire engines were made by Alamo Manufacturing Co., Hillsdale,
Mich.

Belted Up

Club president Bob Williams, Barton, Vt., had his engines set up
at the start of the corridor forming the engine display, and like
many other members his engine, a beautiful 1-1/2 HP Empire, was
running and belted to a stunningly original 1880s No. 7 Davis Swing
Churn. Made by Vermont Farm Machine Co., Bellows Falls, Vt., the
Davis Swing Churn was available in several sizes and was a very
popular item in the Northeast.

Just across the way from the Empire, Bob Gaffney’s circa
1910 2-1/4 HP Associated

Bob Gaffney’s Marvel Draw Cut Saw No. 2 cuts through a piece
of metal stock with Bob’s 2-1/4 HP Associated (flywheel just
visible) supplying power.

Redman was quietly working away pulling a draw cut saw. Bob had
the saw, a Marvel Draw Cut Saw No. 2, pulling a blade across a
piece of 3-inch round metal stock, and he kept it cutting
throughout the day, resetting the stock whenever a cut was
finished.

The husband and wife team of Tom and Diana Holton, West
Chesterfield, N.H., had their engines working as well, with a pair
of late-model Fairbanks-Morse Zs belted to a pair of water pumps.
Their 1942 2 HP Z was pulling a 1917 single-acting Myers while its
partner, a 1947 2 HP Z, was pulling a 1923 Douglas double-acting
pump. Tom, who got in to engines 25 years ago, says the pumps
originally belonged to his father-in-law, who showed them for 20
years before passing them on to Tom.

Jim and Bonny Wilkin, Island Brook, Quebec, Canada, brought this
interesting little 2-3 HP engine with condensor radiator built by
Modine Engine Co., Racine, Wis., in the 1940s.

Ken Allen Sr. and Ken Allen Jr., Rutland, Vt., were likewise
engaged showing their engines working, with a 1-1/2 HP 1935 Stover
CT1 belted to a wooden barrel churn and a 1-1/2 HP 1914 Style K
Stover belted to a sharpening hone. Bill Thorneloe came down from
Marbleton, Quebec, Canada, with his 1-1/2 HP 1920s J.A. Fellows,
which he belted to his Manns Green Bone Cutter, all set up next to
an impressive collection of antique tools he’s amassed over the
years.

Just Running

There were, of course, plenty of engines that were just running
or sitting, as was the case with the very original circa 1916 4 HP
Meco belonging to William and Valerie Castimure, Sparta, N.J. Made
by Manufacturers Engine Co., Kansas City, Mo., (hence the Meco
name), these engines were only available for a few years and are a
rare sight.

Alden Piper, Leominster, Mass., brought his 8 HP 1918
Simplicity, an engine he worked with when he was a kid in the 1930s
filling a silo and cutting wood. When William Flint, the
engine’s first owner, put the engine aside, it ended up stuck
under a barn and it sat for decades. When William decided to try
and sell the engine Alden made his interest clear, so William gave
it to Alden, instead – William saw it run one more time before
passing away a few years ago.

Brice Winters, North Bangor, N.Y., had an interesting sideshaft
4 HP circa 1915 Wisconsin on hand. Brice says he’s had the
engine for 30 years, but just got it running in the last five. The
engine was in rough shape, missing many of its critical parts,
including the cylinder head, valve chest, piston and rod cap. Brice
fabricated a new cylinder head and a new valve chest, and while he
readily admits it isn’t original, he’s justifiably proud of
having it running.

Doug Lunna, Stockbridge, Mass., had his 12 HP 1921 Hercules
Model EK on hand, an engine that spent its early life in a dowel
factory. Doug, who’s had the engine since 1971, says

the Charlie Handley Mill of East Granville, Vt., (just over the
ridge from the show site) was the engine’s first owner. They
worked the engine hard, Doug says, noting that the timing gears
were worn to a point when he got it. This was the largest engine at
the show, and its local history was a great addition.

Doug Lunna’s 12 HP 1921 Hercules EK, serial no. 245339. This
was the biggest engine at the show, and an excellent running piece
of equipment.

It’s interesting to note there were no Abenaque engines on
hand, especially considering the Abenaque Machine Works was right
down the road in Westminster Station. Bob Williams isn’t
surprised, however, noting the high cost of Abenaque engines.
‘Most of those engines were probably shipped out of state,’
Bob says, noting that an Abenaque was probably out of reach for the
average Vermont farmer.

This is very much an engine show; the only tractors visible were
a few John Deeres and what looked to be a derelict Farmall F-20
slowly becoming one with the earth.

It’s also a small show, but that hardly detracts from its
quality. With a stunning location, great engines, and of course
great people, the Vermont Gas and Steam Engine Association put on a
memorable event. Sadly, the Blair’s have to sell a large
portion of their 300-acre farm, and at this writing it’s
unclear if next year’s show will be at the farm. Ken says
he’s hopeful the new owners will allow the show to continue,
and if they do engine fans in the Northeast can look forward to
another fine weekend in Vermont.

Richard Backus is editor of Gas Engine Magazine. Contact
him at: 1503 S.W. 42nd. St.,Topeka, KS 66609-1265, or via e-mail
at: rbackus@ogdenpubs.com

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