The Southland Flywheelers have been meeting for 18 years, and
for the last seven their annual tractor and engine show has been
held in conjunction with the Alabama Jubilee, one of the largest
hot-air balloon meets in the U.S. With 68 hot-air balloons
participating in this year’s Jubilee, the event is second only
to the famed Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held every
fall in Albuquerque, N.M.
Gas Engines and Balloons?
Ballooning is a somewhat capricious sport, relying on fair
weather and low wind speeds for a safe and uneventful flight. But
the weather, unfortunately, isn’t something we can always count
on. Appreciating that fact only too well, Jubilee organizers turned
to the Southland Flywheelers for help.
According to Wayne Tribble, president of the Southland
Flywheelers, Jubilee organizers thought antique engines and
tractors would make a perfect fallback in case the weather failed
to cooperate, so seven years ago they approached the Southland
Flywheelers about displaying their engines and tractors at the
Jubilee. The club signed on, and they’ve been here every year
since. And seven years on, it’s clear the Southland Flywheelers
show has become more than an addition to the Jubilee, turning
instead into something of a foundation for an annual event drawing
an estimated 50,000 attendees.
Stanley Britton’s fantastic circa 1916 12 HP IHC Giant
Mogul, s/n P523. It’s hard to believe looking at this engine
that it’s wearing paint put on 20 years ago. Stanley, Athens,
Ala., kept the Mogul running almost constantly.
Farmalls were well represented at the show, including this
stunning 1936 F-12 belonging to the Redding family of Corinth,
A circa 1909-1910 15 HP ‘left hand’ Reid belonging to
Charles Wilson, Horton, Ala. The ‘left hand’ refers to the
charging cylinder used on Reid engines, which could be ordered
mounted on either the left or right side of the main power
cylinder. A beautifully prepared engine, Charles kept it running
for the better part of the show.
The Jubilee is held on the grounds of Point Mallard, a 35-acre
park on the banks of the Tennessee River and just minutes from
downtown Decatur, Ala. The park, which counts among its attractions
the oldest wave pool in the country, an 18-hole golf course and a
large campground, is a perfect setting for an engine and tractor
show. Large stands of mature trees provide ample shade when the sun
gets high, and there’s plenty of open space for displaying
This isn’t a huge show, but what it might lack in size it
more than makes up for in quality and diversity. Counting the three
crawlers on display, upwards of 90 tractors of various stripe were
on hand, ranging from a 1947 Avery Model A exhibited by the
Townsend family of Somerville, Ala., to a 1949 Standard Twin
brought by Thomas Badget of Alexandria, Ala.
Exhibitors come from all over the region, not just Alabama, as
the Southland Flywheelers club also has members in Tennessee,
Mississippi and Georgia. The Redding family made the trip from
Corinth, Miss., displaying their immaculate 1936 Farmall F-12, and
Evan Gooch, Columbia, Tenn., made the drive, too, bringing along a
steel-wheeled 1940 Cockshutt Model 80 and a 1935 McCormick T20
crawler. Also making the trip from Tennessee were Carroll and Jean
Hicklen, who brought along a brace of beautifully restored
Farmalls, including a 1940 Model H, a 1945 Model B, a 1946 Model M
and a 1951 Super C.
On the engine side, some 85 gas engines were on display,
including the subject of this month’s cover, the 2 HP Model A
Hagan belonging to Stanley Britton, Athens, Ala. The manufacture
date of Stanley’s Hagan is unclear, but bearing serial number
68 it’s thought to be an early unit. The Hagan Gas Engine &
Manufacturing Co., Winchester, Ky., set up shop in 1903, so
it’s likely Stanley’s engine dates from sometime around
1904 to 1905. These are unique engines, and no more than a few are
known to have survived. Stanley acquired the Hagan in 1994, and
with the help of his partner, Mike Thomas, also of Athens, he’s
put it back into proper working order. Thanks to Stanley we have a
Hagan catalog detailing the Hagan engine and its unique features,
and in a future issue we’ll take a closer look at this
Stanley and Mike also brought another impressive engine, a
beautifully restored circa 1916 IHC 12 HP Giant Mogul. Bearing
serial number P523, Stanley says it’s the 60th of 365 12 HP
Moguls made. Originally employed running a gin in Mississippi,
Stanley rescued the Mogul some 20 years ago and brought it back to
original, working order. The Mogul was incomplete when Stanley got
it, missing major items like the cooling tank, the magneto and the
igniter, the latter item having been destroyed by the previous
owner’s family to keep him from running the engine. An original
cooling tank showed up at the Waukee swap meet some years ago, and
just five years ago Stanley finally sourced an original magneto and
igniter. An impressive engine, Stanley kept it running the entire
James Smitherman (bending down behind the 1-1/2 HP 1929
McCormick Model M), Clanton, Ala., fires up his 2 HP John Lauson
for attendees. The engine in the foreground is a 1-1/2 HP Fuller
& Johnson (no nameplate). Behind it is a 2 HP 1927 Novo, s/n
Along with a beautifully restored 1939 Novo four-cylinder
stationary he rescued from a junkyard, Perry Johnson, Trinity,
Ala., had two Desjardins engines on display, including a completely
original 6/8 HP and a refurbished 4/5 HP, both likely dating from
the early 1920s. Built by Desjardins Ltd. in Quebec, Canada, and
similar in design to Waterloo Boy engines (Perry also had a
Waterloo Boy, making comparison between the two makes easy),
Perry’s engines were a great addition to the show.
A 1916 Maytag Multi-Motor, s/n 10526, also belonging to Hal
Hoaglin, Hayden, Ala. This engine was one of nine Hal had on
display detailing the evolution of early Maytag engines.
Hal Hoaglin, Hayden, Ala., had one of the more impressive Maytag
displays I’ve ever seen, consisting of nine examples of the
early upright Maytag Multi-Motor (including one of the very rare
‘Fruit Jar’ models) spread across a large table, complete
with data highlighting how the model evolved across its production
Hal’s display included a circa 1915-1916 Maytag, serial
number 5115 (the first style manufactured by Maytag after its
purchase of the design from Elgin Wheel & Engine Co., Elgin,
Ill.), and continued through to a circa 1920 upright, serial number
68,001, the last iteration of the design before the introduction of
the Model 82 in 1923.
Nameplate from Stanley Britton’s 2 HP Hagan, this
month’s cover shot. Very rare engines, Hagan’s used a
unique fuel delivery system whereby the intake air pulled fuel
drawn on a chain.
Burton Marsh, Madison, Ala., tends to the boiler running his
steam demonstration. Burton had 11 different steam engines on
If Hal’s Maytag Multi-Motor display wasn’t enough, he
also brought along a fantastically restored Maytag Racer. Used as a
marketing and promotional tool to show the ruggedness of Maytag
engines, 498 of these little racers were built by Maytag between
1934 and 1941. The earliest ones used single-cylinder Maytag
engines, and Hal’s is one of these. When Hal bought the Racer
it was in pretty desperate shape, so a full restoration was the
order of the day. Hal had to rework most of the Racer, but he was
able to salvage the original tires (mounted on their original,
beautifully cast aluminum rims), and as far he knows his is the
only Racer still on its original tires.
The 4/5 HP Desjardins belonging to Perry Johnson, Trinity, Ala.
Just visible behind it is the 1939 four-cylinder Novo Perry rescued
from a junkyard.
A 1944 6 HP Lister, s/n 541616, owned by David Soloman, Tanner,
Ala. Fairly rare in the U.S., these British engines are well-known
overseas. This one was paired to a Broom & Wade compressor,
also made in England.
Club members also brought farm wagons to display, including the
stunning Florence belonging to Willard South, Florence, Ala. The
Florence Wagon Co., Florence, Ala., was once one of the largest
manufacturers of farm wagons in the country, its Alabama operation
taking advantage of the then-plentiful supply of mature timber and
quality iron ore for the manufacture of its wagons. Other wagons
included a stunning Weber and two John Deeres.
There was even a little bit of steam on hand, with Burton Marsh,
Madison, Ala., putting on a his own little one-man show. All told,
I counted 11 steam engines in Burton’s exhibit, ranging from a
fantastic 10 HP, twin-cylinder compound Semple to various model
steam engines, all getting their steam from the small boiler Burton
set up on the back of his trailer. Burton doesn’t have anything
against gas engines, in fact he says he owns around 75 different
examples, but when it comes to the shows, he finds attendees are
really drawn to his steam exhibit. ‘A lot of people never get
the chance to see steam,’ Burton says, ‘so I like running
it at shows.’
Wrapping it Up
Crawler club: Pete Allen (left) brought a 1951 Oliver OC3, Curt
Friday (center) brought a 1928 Caterpillar 20 and Evan Gooch
(right) brought a 1935 McCormick T20.
It’s interesting to watch attendees at the Southland
Flywheelers show, as its pairing with hot-air balloonists exposes
the old iron hobby to people who might otherwise pass it by.
Watching attendees as they wandered through the show was a joy,
witnessing adults and children alike discovering the wonder of old
iron for the first time.
The Southland Flywheelers have found a home as part of the
Alabama Jubilee, and their show’s success presents an example
other clubs might do well to note. By pairing with another event,
the Southland Flywheelers have significantly increased their
exposure to people outside of the old iron hobby. In doing so, they
help to educate the public at large about the value of this old
iron we all love so much – about its role in industry and
agriculture, and its contributions to technology and the
Richard Backus is editor of Gas Engine Magazine.