Main Event Antique Engine Show

| August/September 1997

P.O. Box 775, Quartzsite, Arizona 85346-0775

The 6th annual Hit and Miss Gas Engine Show was held at the Main Event in Quartzsite, Arizona, on January 24, 25 and 26, 1997. The show was part of the 15th annual Main Event Gemboree. The Main Event Gemboree is one of the largest gem and mineral shows on earth. Over 1,000 tailgaters and dealers from all over the globe display the world's largest collection of fine gems, minerals and jewelry.

Also on display are rare items, bottles, coins, hobby crafts and antiques. 'Not everyone is interested in rocks and gems,' said Howard Armstrong, owner of the Main Event and an antique engine enthusiast. 'That is why we have included the Hit and Miss Gas Engine Show, as well as the classic car show, off road racing and a number of other special events held during the Gemboree.'

Over 200 exhibitors displayed 300 antique engines at this year's hit and miss show. Many of the engines on display were once used for pumping water, grinding corn and other grains, mining operations, sawmills, light generators and many other uses. These machines originally replaced horses. They were economical to run and you didn't have to feed them.

Many of the early windmills used gas engines as back-up power when the wind was not blowing. If the engine failed, they also had another backup system that used muscle power for pumping water. Sadie, a mannequin and lifetime member of the Western Antique Power Associates, illustrated the use of muscle power for pumping water during the show.

In addition to helping farmers in the field, gas engines also brought convenience into the home. Gary and Pat Sandve, from St. David, Arizona, exhibited their collection of gas and electric powered washing machines. 'Electric washing machines are older than the gas engine machines,' explained Sandve. 'In the big cities like New York and Chicago they had electric and the housewife could use them. Out on the farm they didn't have electric, so companies developed the gas powered machines so farm wives could use their washing machines.' Maytag was one of the leaders in the field, building gas powered washing machines well into the 1950s. Special attachments for grinding sausage and making butter were included with many of the early models.