Rick Ice with his 5 HP Piersen.
#1, Box 142 Ringwood, Oklahoma 73768
On September 22, 23, and 24, 1995, over 5000 visitors took the opportunity to go back to the Turn of the Century, by attending the 10th annual Major County Threshing Bee, in Fairview, Oklahoma.
The Threshing Bee was hosted by the Major County Historical Society and held at the society's grounds. Each year the Bee is getting bigger and better. At this year's show the stationary gas engines were well represented by exhibitors from across the state of Oklahoma and one Texas exhibit. We had engines from as big as a 1937, 65 HP Cooper Bessemer, owned by Dean and Marlin Unruh of Enid, Oklahoma, to as small as a 1907 Tom Thumb owned by George and Mary Oilier, also of Enid. And as every good engine man knows, you can't have a show without the old faithful Maytag engines as exhibited by Kenneth Martin of Woodward.
One of the more rare engines at this year's show was exhibited by Rick Ice of Thomas, Oklahoma. It was a 1924 or 1925, 5 HP, 950 rpm, A594 Piersen motor. This particular engine was patented and manufactured by Piersen Telegraph Transmitter Company, in Topeka, Kansas. Rick bought this engine in 1993 from the Peter Rose Estate in Garber, Oklahoma, and he says it is one of the few still in existence.
Michael Barney of Mutual, Oklahoma, exhibited a 1 HP Massey Harris, which is another engine rarely seen at shows. Michael is not real positive about the model year of this engine, but guesses it to be 1908 or 1910. Michael says the engine was given to the Arthaud family approximately 30 years ago, and he feels privileged to show it.
Probably the most fun as an exhibitor was had by Dallas and Carol Morris of Enid, Oklahoma, with their 1909 Cretors #2 steam popcorn wagon. Carol purchased this popcorn wagon for Dallas as a birthday present and they sell popcorn made in it. Truth be known, they give away more than they sell! Not only does this wagon pop popcorn, it roasts peanuts, too!
A real crowd pleaser was the late 1920s or early 1930s 5 HP Ottawa log saw shown and demonstrated by the Koehn family of Ringwood, Oklahoma. They purchased this saw in 1994 from Henry Martens of Fairview, Oklahoma.
I've given you a short rundown on the stationary engine part of the Bee, but there are many more things to be seen on your trip back to the turn of the century.
This year 10 bellowing, smoke-belching steam engines were on display and in action daily. One could see them threshing, plowing (12-8-5 bottoms), horsepower demonstration (prony brake), and it's the only place in the world you can see a house being moved by a 1910 authentic house moving rig pulled by steam engines.
There were antique tractors galore, with many of them participating in the tractor pull: old time equipment at work included a stationary straw baler, corn shelling, saw mill, grain milling (wheat), plowing and more plowing.
If all this didn't keep you entertained, you could enjoy the Dutch oven cook-off, an antique car show, see a rope making demonstration, mill through the various arts and crafts, watch a fashion show, ride on horse-drawn buggies or just sit and enjoy the musical entertainment and eat-eat-eat from the many food booths.
This year the number of exhibitors exceeded previous years, the attendance was large and on Saturday night, as a way to thank people for their support, a free barbecue dinner was offered. Everyone on the grounds, exhibitors and guests alike, were invited. Nine hundred plates of food were served in a period of an hour.
I hope we've enticed you to come join us September 27, 28 and 29,1996, as once again we return to the Turn of the Century.