Gas Engine Magazine

Major County Historical Society’s 10th Annual THRESHING BEE

By Staff

#1, Box 142 Ringwood, Oklahoma 73768

On September 22, 23, and 24, 1995, over 5000 visitors took the
opportunity to go back to the Turn of the Century, by attending the
10th annual Major County Threshing Bee, in Fairview, Oklahoma.

The Threshing Bee was hosted by the Major County Historical
Society and held at the society’s grounds. Each year the Bee is
getting bigger and better. At this year’s show the stationary
gas engines were well represented by exhibitors from across the
state of Oklahoma and one Texas exhibit. We had engines from as big
as a 1937, 65 HP Cooper Bessemer, owned by Dean and Marlin Unruh of
Enid, Oklahoma, to as small as a 1907 Tom Thumb owned by George and
Mary Oilier, also of Enid. And as every good engine man knows, you
can’t have a show without the old faithful Maytag engines as
exhibited by Kenneth Martin of Woodward.

One of the more rare engines at this year’s show was
exhibited by Rick Ice of Thomas, Oklahoma. It was a 1924 or 1925, 5
HP, 950 rpm, A594 Piersen motor. This particular engine was
patented and manufactured by Piersen Telegraph Transmitter Company,
in Topeka, Kansas. Rick bought this engine in 1993 from the Peter
Rose Estate in Garber, Oklahoma, and he says it is one of the few
still in existence.

Michael Barney of Mutual, Oklahoma, exhibited a 1 HP Massey
Harris, which is another engine rarely seen at shows. Michael is
not real positive about the model year of this engine, but guesses
it to be 1908 or 1910. Michael says the engine was given to the
Arthaud family approximately 30 years ago, and he feels privileged
to show it.

Probably the most fun as an exhibitor was had by Dallas and
Carol Morris of Enid, Oklahoma, with their 1909 Cretors #2 steam
popcorn wagon. Carol purchased this popcorn wagon for Dallas as a
birthday present and they sell popcorn made in it. Truth be known,
they give away more than they sell! Not only does this wagon pop
popcorn, it roasts peanuts, too!

A real crowd pleaser was the late 1920s or early 1930s 5 HP
Ottawa log saw shown and demonstrated by the Koehn family of
Ringwood, Oklahoma. They purchased this saw in 1994 from Henry
Martens of Fairview, Oklahoma.

I’ve given you a short rundown on the stationary engine part
of the Bee, but there are many more things to be seen on your trip
back to the turn of the century.

This year 10 bellowing, smoke-belching steam engines were on
display and in action daily. One could see them threshing, plowing
(12-8-5 bottoms), horsepower demonstration (prony brake), and
it’s the only place in the world you can see a house being
moved by a 1910 authentic house moving rig pulled by steam

There were antique tractors galore, with many of them
participating in the tractor pull: old time equipment at work
included a stationary straw baler, corn shelling, saw mill, grain
milling (wheat), plowing and more plowing.

If all this didn’t keep you entertained, you could enjoy the
Dutch oven cook-off, an antique car show, see a rope making
demonstration, mill through the various arts and crafts, watch a
fashion show, ride on horse-drawn buggies or just sit and enjoy the
musical entertainment and eat-eat-eat from the many food

This year the number of exhibitors exceeded previous years, the
attendance was large and on Saturday night, as a way to thank
people for their support, a free barbecue dinner was offered.
Everyone on the grounds, exhibitors and guests alike, were invited.
Nine hundred plates of food were served in a period of an hour.

I hope we’ve enticed you to come join us September 27, 28
and 29,1996, as once again we return to the Turn of the

  • Published on Apr 1, 1996
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