A Trip To The Buckley Show

| July/August 2001

Rockford, Michigan email: flywheel@hotmail.com

My wife Shirley and I went to the Buckley, MI show for the day. What a fantastic show it was. We were up at 4:30 a.m. left at 5:30 and arrived at the showgrounds about 7:30 a.m. It was about 45 degrees F and the fog was just lifting. You could smell the steam engines cooking already. Not many people were out and about, so we took that opportunity to see some of the buildings on the grounds. We walked past some old cars, a Rambler, Model A, T, and others.

First building we came to was called the power plant and machine shop. A beautiful old fire truck was in there. Detail like I've never seen, there was even pin striping on the ax handles, and the chrome on the engine was like a mirror. Wow! Then in one half of this building was old shop equipment. Belt driven lathes, surface grinders, drill presses, wooden pulleys, line shafting all over the place. I think they will be getting an old machine shop going in this building. On the other half was this big 6 cylinder Westinghouse diesel engine that was up on blocks, and you could see underneath it. They were pouring a new foundation underneath it. No flywheel on it, but looked to be about 6 to 8 feet by the depth of the pit. Across the path was the steam building.

The steam building was very warm and welcoming on the chilly morning. There were a couple vertical steam engines just a little taller than I am. One was running right along, powering a generator and some lights. There were two steam driven pumps in there that were just amazing. One pumps 750 gallons a minute and another in the back pumps 1000 gallons A MINUTE! It must have stood 8 feet tall and 15 feet long. There were a few big horizontal steam engines and one 250 HP Corliss. That one must of had a flywheel ten feet in diameter. Very cool. Quite a few others along the perimeter walls. And all of them hooked up and looked ready to run.

We left there and passed through the engine area as it hadn't awakened and been uncovered quite yet. We checked out the petting zoo with some chickens, kittens, rabbits, a calf, little piggies, a goat, and two sheep. Then went into the oil well pumping exhibit building. There was a 25 HP Superior in there belted up to a huge horizontal pulley, maybe 15 to 20 feet diameter. Just under the pulley was an eccentric, that a bunch of rods would have hooked to, and some rods were a mile long, it said. Each rod went to an oil well to pump the oil. I've only read about the descriptions on the SEL, neat to really see one.

We walked through the tractor and steam traction engine area. There were two amazing tractors there. A Flour City and an Aultman Taylor, they each must have stood 15 feet tall with 8 to 10 foot diameter rear wheels. Later in the day we got to see the starting procedure of these two beasties. That was great! There was also a huge Avery steam engine that was different from any I've seen around here. The engine was under the boiler. The boiler was way up in the air.


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