IN PURSUIT OF A DREAM


| May/June 1980



Midwest Old Threshers

It all started with a dream. The dream had developed over a period of years and was the result of hours of discussion between a man and his son. The man is Louis Tuller of Mount Pleasant, Iowa; and his son, Barry is presently an engineering student at the University of Iowa.

For many years, both men have been active exhibitors and supporters of the annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant. They have a fine collection of fly wheelers that are all in excellent working condition; do all their own mechanical work; and pride themselves on being able to resurrect the rusted, the neglected, and uncared for gas engines that they find.

In 1978, Louis was appointed to the Board of Directors for Midwest Old Threshers. He had been a part of the operation for many years, but as a director, he could help to shape the policies of the association. He was given the task of coordinating the gas engine exhibit area. Louis soon realized the tremendous amount of planning involved in making a large show operate. Assisted by Barry, they set about reorganizing the gas engine exhibit area for the 1978 Reunion.

Their major concerns were safety for the visitor, ease of access to the area for the visitor and the exhibitor, public relations, and an increase in the caliber of engines exhibited at the annual event. All aspects of the tasks were considered by the two men. A logical layout of the exhibit area was developed by Barry. Both men corresponded with past and potential exhibitors, and Louis established the policies and rules for the reunion.

Louis had been concerned with the quality of engines brought to Old Threshers. He was convinced that if someone came to his area, he wanted them to see a splendid array of various types and models of gas engines. But more than just that, he wanted the visitor to see the engines in operation, good working order, and in a restored condition. His feeling for quality shaped the policy for the gas engine exhibit.

Also both men felt it was important to show the uninformed visitor some of the chores the gas engine performed on the farm. To the already fine examples of operating exhibits (wood sawing, corn grinding and shelling, water pumping, and clothes washing) the Tullers added a rock crushing exhibit. The crusher had operated at prior reunions, but the men used a 10 HP Fairbanks-Morse engine owned by Milo Mathews, Mt. Union, Iowa; mounted it on a wheeled truck after restoring the engine; added a cooling tank; and created a new approach to the exhibit. It was more appealing to the visitor and was much easier to view the machine in operation.