Labor Day Weekend in northeast Iowa brings forth a nice little antique power show put on by the Cedar Valley Engine Club that packs a lot into a small area, and for 2017 there was a particular buzz around the International Harvester Corp. line of equipment. This was the state show for the Iowa Chapter 5 International Harvester Collectors Club, and along with the normal assortment of “red” tractors and equipment there was a great selection of IHC engines around the grounds. Some of the engines displayed have been around the Cedar Valley family of collectors for a couple of generations, while others were on the grounds for the first time.
The IHC feature was a good opportunity for the descendents of Eldon Hungerford to bring many of his engines together. In that grouping is a well-known and liked 16 hp Lennox engine that has been a family engine since it was new. It has received a face-lift and some other upkeep over the years, but the glamour of the shiny red paint and galvanized cooling tank is only part of the charm. To talk to the Hungerford family and hear about the history of the engine is the true treasure.
Eldon had a soft spot for IHC’s Famous line of engines, and the family had some of his pride and joy units there running for the weekend. A 4 hp tank-cooled Famous, a 4 hp hopper-cooled Famous, plus 6 hp tank-cooled and 6 hp hopper-cooled Famous engines were together again for the show.
It is always interesting having a feature such as IHC, not knowing what might show up come show time. Three 10 hp M's were thumping away in various displays as well as a varied selection of 1-1/2 hp M's. Missing were any 3 hp or 6 hp versions of the Model M, but there were several LA and LB models and even a seldom seen Model L engine. The majority of the “Red” engines were the Famous ones including two vertical Famous (2 and 3 hp), a 2-1/2 hp Famous, three tank-cooled 4 hp Famous portables, and a 6 hp tank-cooled and two hopper-cooled 6 hp engines.
In all, there were a little over 100 gas engines on display over the weekend. Hercules, Economy, Armstrong, Witte, Alamo, John Lauson, Associated, Charter, Wiscona Pep, Stover, Gilson, Maytag, Gade, Briggs, Cushman, Clinton and so on were some of the other makes on the grounds.
There was plenty of eye candy, and great people with the stories to go along with the exhibits abounded. It seems that the stories behind the engines are as varied as the displays themselves, whether a treasured family heirloom that has been saved and passed down through the years or the latest find in the back of a forgotten building or grove. The “charm” of the rhythmic sounds and styling can, and do, draw many into the realm of old iron collecting. Not everyone understands, but we do, don’t we?
If you get a chance around the Labor Day weekend and are in the northern Iowa area, I would recommend you stop by and take in a great show with a down-home feel. The Cedar Valley Engine Club Threshers Reunion show is held every Labor Day weekend at our show grounds 7 miles west of Charles City, Iowa, just off SR 14. The 2018 show will feature some local history with the Hart-Parr and Oliver equipment brands, and the engine feature will be Fuller & Johnson. If you have interest in exhibiting, I’m sure they would welcome you with open arms.
The club can be found on the internet at www.cedarvalleyengineclub.com or on Facebook under the club’s name.