Sistersville Oil & Gas Festival

By Staff
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John Preston and his two 'rare' Pattins.
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Black Bear engine pumping crude oil.

Rt. 1, Box 209, Middlebourne, West Virginia 26149

Once again, antique engine buffs, winter is upon us. There were
many fine engines shows to visit. Yours truly and wife took in
several ourselves. Sistersville Oil and Gas Festival was one such
show. Again we set a record for the number of engines, and
featuring oil field engines resulted in some rare and unique
examples. I guess the two very fine Pattins, 5 and 6 HP, of John
Preston, from Michigan, fits that description closely. These
engines are very rare here in ‘oil country’ and for someone
‘out of town’ to find them fascinates me. The engines have
first ported, then valved exhaust. But John did an excellent job
restoring the old relics. One has hot tube ignition, the other
P.R.Wico. We hope to see them again next year!

Large oilfield engines in abundance such as 20 & 25 HP
Pattins, 15 & 25 HP Reids, 15-20 or 25 HP Half Breeds
‘steam engines transformed to gas.’ Also a large variety of
Bessemers, mostly from the ‘stables’ of our show organizer
Wib Anderson and family. A Black Bear pumping rig pumping crude oil
drew a steady stream of onlookers. The 15 HP J. P. Berry that Cliff
Atkinson brought down from Valencia, Pennsylvania, area was a rare
machine indeed and it ran like a clock. The lineup of oilfield
engines also included an 8 HP Spang and a ‘silent running’
15 HP Evans. The large majority of these oil field engines are hot
tube fired.

Scott Hirshey of Geneva, Indiana, made his annual trek to
Sistersville and, once again, dragged a ‘diamond in the
rust’ out of one of the sleepy hollows close by. This time a
very old, ‘maybe 1890s,’ upright Kline engine. There were
many fine smaller engines, some quite unusual for this area,
especially the New Way engine meticulously restored by Ed Grimsey
and his wife, from Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. After spending some
time visiting the Grimseys, they were telling me some of the
reasons they pass a closer show to visit Sistersville: the
picturesque setting with the show, along the Ohio River, and the
nearby ferry making its trips to Fly, Ohio, and back. Some of the
show goers take advantage of this to go over to the tasty little
restaurant at the top of the ferry landing. Also downtown
Sistersville is within short walking distance where the restaurants
are popular. The Grand Old Wells Inn serves some fine dining. Mrs.
Grimsey thanked me after I informed her of the three mansions built
by the rich oil tycoons of years gone by, that are just down the
street from the show grounds. She enjoyed the short walk. Visitors
like that make the locals proud to be of service.

The ‘good ole boys’ from North Carolina showed again
this year with two large trailers loaded to the gills with
Fairbanks and Novos. Now if I could just get them to cut that rope
they pull that rain cloud up here with!! Saturday turned out wet
but the show went on. To be exact 428 engines, 52 models, 6
tractors, 57 miscellaneous from 17 states and Canada were in

The oil and gas sponsored model oil rig display resulted in some
very fine examples of early oil rigs down to the last screw, I
think! Some were offered for sale and did just that! The
entertainment on stage across the park drew ample crowds. The grand
oil and gas parade went on as scheduled, rain or shine, mostly

Every exhibitor was appreciated we hope to see you in September.
The featured engine will be Galloway.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines