Antique Power and Mining


| March/April 1989

120 HP Cornish mining engine

Pres., Front Range Ant. Power Assn. 13553 West Virginia Drive Lakewood, Colorado 80228

Imagine a huge Cornish mining engine with Pikes Peak and the U.S. Air Force Academy in the background! This was the sight greeting visitors to the second annual Pikes Peak Engine and Tractor Gas-Up as they emerged from a tree lined lane onto the grounds of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. Located just north of Colorado Springs, the museum provided not only an ideal location, but numerous working exhibits of their own. Held this year over the June 4-5 weekend, the show was one of several in which our club, The Front Range Antique Power Association, participated during the 1988 season.

Approximately 100 gas engines were shown. Notable among these were Earl Thiebaud's 15 H.P. Mogul and Del Donaldson's 20 H.P. Witte. The writer's 2 HP vertical Dempster made its show circuit debut. A highlight of engine row was Ori Olestad's John Deere powered corn meal operation. A lot of folks went home with a sack of their first-ever 'real' corn meal.

Perhaps the most interesting engines were two displayed by the museum. The Cornish walking beam, while not yet operational, was impressive. Imported from England around 1840, this behemoth provided power for the Vaucluse gold mine in Orange Co., Virginia. Ravaged by the Civil War, it lay forgotten until 1931 when a series of events, initiated by Heny Ford, led to its salvage and ultimate new home.

Another museum entry on engine row was the two cylinder Fay and Bowen marine engine. Having originally served in a 25 ft. launch on Lake Leelanan, Michigan, this rare jewel somehow found its way west where it has hidden in the museum's warehouse since 1977. It was a real thrill to hook up a coil, add some gas, and after a few pulls on the flywheel, hear it pop into life. It was interesting to note that the cylinders carried consecutive serial numbers, indicating that the basic one cylinder models were simply bolted together to achieve the desired horsepower. Presently, this is the only lay and Bowen known to have survived.

Tractor enthusiasts had their day. Not only having fun with their toys, these gentlemen provided entertainment in a three class tractor pull each day. In class A (light), full pull honors went to Del Donaldson on his 1936 Allis WC. Class B full pulls were recorded by Mike Moberley's 1938 WK-40 and Buster Voris' 1937 F-30 Farmall. Wyman Vanning with his 1949 Oliver 99 and Dick Pickrel astride his John Deere 820 pulled away with Class C honors. Thanks to the spacious rural setting of the museum grounds, there was ample room for the tractor folk to play. Walt Staack toured the grounds giving rides on his Waterloo Boy.