Southern TierAntique Gas and Steam Engine Association Show

By Staff
article image
Ralph Loomis
Ralph Loomis's shingle mill with the bags of sawdust being removed during the show.

Box 55 Nineveh, New York 13813

The 17th annual Southern Tier Antique Gas and Steam Engine Show
was held on August 23, 24 and 25 at the village park in Maine, New
York. It has gone down memory lane as the biggest and best. In its
wake there was a touch of sadness. The club was formed six years
before the first show, which puts the original members in another
generation; they too are going down memory lane. They will never be
forgotten, because they leave behind their beautiful nieces of
restored antiquity.

Over the past 17 years the shows have had everything in them.
Our members are very skilled when it comes to duplicating life on
the farm in the last century. Most of our more than 300 members
have more than one exhibit, so they bring one or two and leave the
others home for next year. Our shows are all different.

We always have a good show because it is the second generation
running it now. It is in good hands because those kids grew up in
old iron. They are not new to the game. In fact, some in their
early twenties were not even born when the club was formed.

One doesn’t have to be crazy to belong to the club, but it
does help. A little para-engine-oia makes the ideal club member. We
must not feel bad when they call us iron nuts. They called Edison
and other great inventors nuts too, but look what they did for the
world. In this restoration of old iron we may not be famous
inventors, but inventors we are. Sometimes it takes a lot of
inventing to replace those missing parts.

It’s only a matter of time before our environmental problems
get the better of us and we won’t have enough air to breathe.
At that time, our engine clubs will come up with many of the
answers to save energy. We just revert back in time before the
automobiles and other polluters.

Our club also has the fun loving side where there is always a
joker. I enjoyed Gerald Reynolds’ sign at the 1990 and 1991
shows. It said, ‘Warning: My wife is mentally disturbed-engines
are really not for sale.’ I met his wife and could see nothing
was wrong with her mind, unless it was putting up with her
husband’s mania for old iron.

Ralph Loomis’s Oil Pull and shingle mill has not missed a
show in 17 years. Last year he came with a cane, this year he came
in a wheelchair, but his shingle mill seemed to be sawing more
shingles than ever. In fact they had to bag the saw dust and haul
it away during the show.

Dave MacDonald has made a name for himself with his fine
workmanship on all kinds of engines and models. He gets something
nice, plays with it for a while, and then swaps it off. He would
make somebody a good housewife because you can’t find a speck
of dust on any of his toys.

Ed Farley and Ray Bunzey ran the auction. It started at six and
was going strong at bedtime. They were sharp when it came to old
iron, but were stumped when they came to a long pole on a Homelite
engine. Somebody had to tell them the long pole with the hook on it
was to put in a tree to shake off the nuts.

This auction was like all the rest; anything I wanted to buy
went high and the other stuff went cheap. The professional
auctioneer donated his commission to the land fund, which is
increasing at a slow rate. We need our own land to build a museum
and to expand because we are suffering growing pains. The 10 acre
town park in Maine, New York, is becoming too small. There are many
engine clubs in New York and Pennsylvania, all within commuting
distance. Our members go to their shows, and their members come to
ours. Some of our members belong to several clubs. This is why we
must hold our annual show the last weekend in August so as not to
conflict with the other shows.

People out west do not realize New York history. Farming was at
its peak when some of the states were just forming. There are a lot
of antiques left over from those days, which explains why there are
so many engine clubs and why we are suffering growing pains.

It will be a sad day when we outgrow the village park. The
village of Maine has always bent over backwards for us. We even use
the town hall for our monthly meetings. There are two meetings a
month, one a regular meeting, the other a meeting of the satellite
club, which is a working part of the club where members restore
their old iron. The satellite meeting is held in the workshops of
different members.

The club is doing its part for the economy of Maine, New York.
At every show the visitors and campers spend a lot of money at the
area stores and businesses. In appreciation, the village of Maine
always has the town band give a concert, and sends over an exhibit.
This year it was their 1926 Chevrolet fire truck, which is a very
precious museum piece. It attracted a lot of attention with the
hand cranked siren in the parade.

Everybody has a good time. We don’t forget the children; the
kiddie tractor pull makes their day. This too had its excitement.
It seems the night before the pull the big guys, not the big kids,
were playing with it. The first pull was under 45 pounds, and the
tractor broke down with the second contestant and had to be
repaired before they could finish the pull. The big guys got off
the hook when they finished the tractor pull without further

Like all shows, it came to a close when everybody started
leaving after the fun, leaving behind the president and other
members of the cleanup crew. The park is ready for the 1992 show
the last weekend in August. Keep this date in mind and come see

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