2003 McLouth Threshing Bee

Gas Engines on the Rebound at the 46th Annual Show

| October/November 2003

Gas engines were on the rebound at this year's McLouth Threshing Bee in McLouth, Kan. Hosted by the Heart of America Antique Steam & Model Association, this year's show, the 46th, saw a greatly improved event for stationary engine fans.

McLouth resident Darrin Jantz, chairman of the engine area, pins this year's successful crop of engines on the show's pairing with the Mo-Kan Antique Power Association, an antique engine club that draws collectors from eastern Kansas and western Missouri. In recent years the engine side of the show seemed to be slipping, but this year several Mo-Kan members brought their equipment to the show, and there's no question the pairing worked, with plenty of nice engines on display.

Darrin, who's collecting interests run towards engines and antique garden tractors, had an impressive display of equipment on hand. His sentiments clearly lean toward originality, and most of his equipment reflected this. Little of his equipment is restored in the traditional sense of the term; instead it has all been mechanically sorted but left pretty much as found.

On the engine side Darrin had a very nice 4 HP 1912 Sparta Economy sitting alongside a 5 HP 1928 Galloway, not to mention a 2 HP 1916 Rock Island, a 1-1/4 HP Monitor and a 2 HP 1916 Witte. On the garden side he had a very original Model T-45 Shaw Du-All powered by a Nelson Bros. VC4 air-cooled single. Built in 1932 by Shaw Mfg. Co., Galesburg, Kan., Darrin's T-45 is a rare survivor of Shaw's early product line. Sitting next to the T-45 was Darrin's 1936 Viking Twin Model CF garden tractor. Powered by a 5 HP two-cylinder engine, the Viking was built by Allied Motor Co., Minneapolis, Minn., and survivors are few and far between.

John Matthis, Atchison, Kan., had a nice display set up on the far side of the grounds, including a very nice, very original tank-cooled 4 HP Cushman Model CI, an IHC LA, a Fairbanks-Morse Z, a McCormick-Deering Type M and an assortment of Maytags.

Paul Huffman, Sabetha, Kan., had his equipment set up next to John, displaying his impressive 6 HP 1916 Stover. The Stover, which hasn't been cosmetically restored, is mounted on a buzz saw rig from an IHC, its original long gone. This is one engine that's lucky to be around; the fellow Paul bought it from had bought it as junk from fellow Kansas engine man Wayne Harsh years ago. When Paul got the Stover 15 years ago he found the cylinder was broken through to the hopper, the head was cracked, the stanchion for the exhaust rocker arm was almost broken off and the governor was so worn the weights had cut into the flywheel. 'This old girl was worn really bad,' Paul says.