The annual engine extravaganza that is Portland has come and gone, and what a show it was. The weather cooperated, for a change, and the engines on display were, as always, a stunning mixture of the rare, the unusual and the 'normal.' Our annual review of the show starts on page 18, and as ever it's just about impossible to do justice to this signature event.
If you've never been to the Portland show, you really owe it to yourself to make the trek. This show, more than any other, attracts attendees from all over the U.S. and the world. Engine fans come from the farthest corners of the earth to share in the amazing variety of engines on display, sometimes bringing an engine, and sometimes taking one back.
Reg Ingold showed up from Australia with the scale Merry Explosive he built for Luke Tonneberger, while our own Helen French, and husband, Jim, flew in from England, picking up a little Monitor pump jack engine during their visit.
First-time Portland visitors Peter and Rita Forbes also flew in from England (as did first-timer Philip Thornton-Evison, who snaps photos for the U.K.'s Stationary Engine Magazine), and they were simply awed by the event. As Peter told the Stationary Engine List upon his return home: 'The show was fantastic. No words could describe the quantity and quality of the exhibits.' This is no fluke, of course.
Reg Ingold (left) presents Luke Tonneberger with the scale Merry engine he built for Luke, carrying it from Australia and delivering it to Luke at this year's Portland show.
The organizers of the Portland show have worked hard to make the event what it is, and the show's success is a testimony to their efforts and the continuing - and building - interest in old engines.
The old iron community is rich in people, not just engines, and a show like Portland really puts that fact into perspective. This is not to suggest that the smaller shows, which are truly the mainstay of the hobby, have any less to offer. Nothing could be further from the truth. But Portland, by simple virtue of its scope, brings together people and machines from the hobby in a way no other show can duplicate. See you next year.