Power From the Past Annual Show

By Staff
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Rotary rock crusher at 1998 show.
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Clark engine and engineer Harry Dumont, 1998.

5801 E, 5th Street Tucson, Arizona 85711

We finished our prime annual show in April 1998, in conjunction
with the Pima County Town and Country Fair, a 10-day event, and it
was bigger than ever with even more exhibitors from other states
than in previous years. Exhibitors from three other clubs Arizona
Early Day Antique Engine and Tractor Association, Arizona
Fly-wheelers, and New Mexico Vintage Iron con tribute heavily
yearly at this show. This year we had exhibitors from Idaho, North
Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, and Oregon. We
had 119 engines this year, and many go-withs such as water pumps,
corn shelters, grinders, generators, washing machines, rock
crushers, post drills, a milk machine vacuum pump engine with a
milking machine, and quite a few model engines and go-withs.

Our ‘Home Setting’ of household antiques in our exhibit
building was nearly overflowing. The womenfolk in our club started
the exhibit with antique house wares five years agonow more and
more men are bringing some of their collections in. Guess Edna
O’Day, the gal who is in charge, is going to limit the
collections next year, as she has run out of room for
everybody’s collections to be displayed properly, and this is
an enormous Butler type building adjacent to our huge outdoor
engine show area.

In our outdoor engine area, we have five items at present
permanently mounted, with more waiting to be mounted and more for
us to haul in! The first unit we permanently mounted was a 1916
Clark Bros of New York, 60 HP two stroke well head gas engine. It
was used to run a pump, to pump water to cool oil pumping engines
for Standard Oil Company in Ventura, California. It is owned by one
of our members, Ron Uphan of Tucson, Arizona. At the same time and
next to the Clark we mounted a 1918 Bessemer 15 HP engine that Ron
also owns, and he hauled it from Pennsylvania. It was used in the
Tennessee oil fields to power well heads of five oil wells. We
built a shed over both of these, as they have been nicely restored.
Opposite these is a B.V. Nordberg 150 HP steam engine, patented
January 31, 1893. It is run on compressed air from an old
Worthington four-wheeled compressor. The club bought an
Ingersoll-Rand compressor and hauled it in from a place in
Colorado. It was originally used to pump natural gas for the city
of Denver, Colorado, and more recently to produce compressed air
for a mine near Denver. The compressor has a 6 inch bore and 10
inch stroke. It will be belted up to our 60 horse Clark. It will be
used to power our steam engine after we get it set up. Next to
these three engines, we mounted a 1944 Ruston 17 HP diesel-fueled
engine owned by Buster Brown of Welton, Arizona. On the opposite
side of our engine show area, at the same time we mounted the
Ruston, we have a restored and working rock crusher of the rotary
type, a No. 2 Austin Mfg. Company of Chicago, Illinois, owned by
another club member, Joe Mooney. It came from a gold mine of the
1920s from Montana and is powered by belt from one of the tractors.
It chews up rocks of 12 inches and spits them out about the size of
an inch. We are in the process of removing a Skinner 400 HP steam
engine that has been donated to us from the Apache Powder Plant of
St. David, Arizona. So far, we have removed and transported the
crankshaft and the two-halves flywheel. This engine is in a
building, in amongst the machinery that the plant still uses. They
no longer produce dynamite, but do produce blasting grade ammonia
nitrate and nitrate fertilizer. This engine is hard to dismantle
and remove because of what I stated above, but piece by piece, it
will come out. It weighs 65,000 pounds total and is attached to an
alternating current 512 KVA generator, of which is part of our
package, and produced the electrical power for the plant from
1926-1982. It is 400 HP at 150 rpm with a 22′ bore and a
24′ stroke. We also have two saw mills that need restoring,
assembling, and permanent mounting. The largest mill was bought by
the club and transported by Bucky Stevens and his young son
Nathaniel. All of the above mounted projects are running during our
fair show.

The engineers of our club are hoping to find an I.D plate for
our Clark Brothers engine and information pertaining to the timing
and the right procedure of fueling with propane for it; we have it
running pretty good but sometimes it seems to load-up and it lets
out a big bang! We also need to know the horsepower and rpm. We
think it is a 60 HP engine. It has a 14′ bore and a
20’stroke and is a two cycle engine. Anyone out there in GEM
Land who can help, your input would be most appreciated and
responses would be answered.

The tractor pull area is adjacent to the engine area and has a
very nice track on it. This year we had probably 150 tractors
pulling. Two of our members, Charley Sagers and Bucky Stevens,
ramrodded the building of our L.S.T.E. (Low Speed Traction
Evaluator), model BC (Bucky & Charley), serial number 970412
(1997 April 12, first official pull) for the tractor pull
competitions, which were held late mornings and mid-afternoons both
weekends. This unit was begun in 1995 and completed on December 4,
1996. We also have built a four-wheeled water spray wagon to wet
down the dirt areas and the pull track. It was also built at the
same time as the L.S.T.E. at Charley’s place in Green Valley,

Our basic itinerary goes like the followingFirst Saturday
evening: steak fry, bring your own steak and bring something to
share. This year was a ‘steak fondue on a pitch fork’,
different but cooked steaks a great way (deep fried). Sunday
morning: pot luck breakfast with hot cakes, scrambled eggs and
sausage and bring something to share. After the breakfast the first
Sunday we had the Great American Mouse Trap Race for distance.
Yours truly spun out this year. For those who don’t know what a
mouse trap race is, it is a little four-wheeled miniature race car
that comes as a kit to build and is powered by a mouse trap. We
always have a large crowd in the building to watch the races.
Everyone has a good time cheering on their favorite car or race
driver. Last year Buster Brown’s car won as it went across the
concrete floor of our antique household building and about eight
feet out the door. I came in third place, then. This year none went
out the door. Of course, Buster didn’t compete either!

After the mouse trap race, outside, there was a cast iron
skillet throwing for distance contest which many wives and friends
competed. Ruth Senkbeil threw it the farthest, 43.3 feet. I
understand she is doing some push-ups and arm wrestling to get her
arm in better shape for next year. So look out, you other gals.
This contest was a first for our club. The large crowd cheered on
their favorite ‘athletes’ and dodged the flying cast iron
as some of the athletes had slippery hands! Everyone had a good
time and no one got hit by the flying cast iron! The following
Saturday evening we had a Chili Pot-Luck Dinner. Everyone was
encouraged to bring something to dump into our huge gas-fired cast
iron kettle to brew chili, m-mm good! Sunday morning was pot luck
breakfast again, only it was biscuits and gravy, also mmm good! All
these festivities happen early in the mornings before fair-goers
get in. The fair grounds open at 10:00 a.m. There is also an R.V.
camp area adjacent to our area with first-come, first-serve for
hookups, and there is a show building on the grounds for everyone.
We also have pre-selected motels available for our exhibitors. Oh!
also several of us get together and make homemade ice cream for
everyone on Saturday afternoons and any other time we feel like

We had a pair of special exhibitors this year, Phillip and Betty
Blanchard of Illinois, with their rope-making machine, making free
jump ropes. They made nearly a mile of rope for the children. They
used 12 bundles of twine x 60 ropes per bundle =720 10 pcs @ 6.5
ft. per rope, that’s 4680 ft. over 10 days, 468 feet per

We are a young club of rusty iron collectors and exhibitors,
though many of us have been exhibiting for many years in the other
two older clubs in the state. We became organized in 1992. We
participate as a club in the annual 4 of July Parade in Benson,
Arizona, using the tractors in the club with some pulling a wagon
loaded with rusty iron things (the last three years we have won a
trophy for our group). We also take part in the Green Valley Parade
and the Sierra Vista Christmas Parade. We have an engine fire-up at
the annual Tombstone Helldorado Days celebration at the Arizona
State Historic Courthouse parking lot and street on Saturday, and
the parade down Allen Street on Sunday with the tractors, some
pulling trailers loaded with various rusty iron such as antique
washing machines run by engines. We have a Tombstone native by the
name of Lu-Lu Belle dressed in clothing of the 1880s period, with
bonnet, missing teeth, and freckles. What a sight! On Saturday
evening, on the courthouse grounds, we usually are treated to a
good old hamburger barbecue and potluck dinner, along with
Art’s special barbecued ribs and, of course, we crank out the
ol’ I.C.F.’s for some home-spun ice cream. (Art is one of
the park rangers and Lu-Lu Belle is his better half). Usually this
shin-dig concludes in some sort of entertainment. This celebration
is scheduled annually around the date of the famous ‘Gun Fight
At The O.K. Corral’ between the Earps, Doc Holliday, Clantons
and McLarys (see story GEM, page 29, September 1995).

If anyone would want to show at the next event, April 8-18,
1999, one can contact our president, Jerry Rasmussen, at (520)
290-3278 or write 3740 S. Treck, Tucson, Arizona 85730. Also, the
race cars are available from Jerry.

So y’all come on down here and enjoy our club’s
activities. You are all welcome, and as Jerry says, ‘Come when
you can and leave when you must!’

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