Right view of the Robert Ingalls' Fairbanks Morse engine.
64958 M-43 Hwy. Bangor, Michigan 49013
Those were the famous last words of my father-in-law Bob Ingalls as he viewed the annual Van Buren Flywheeler's Antique Engine Show held at the fairgrounds in Hartford, Michigan four years ago.
He expressed his disinterest as he sat in his camper in the parking lot along with my husband, Pat, and his mother, Helen. Pat had persuaded his parents to accompany him to the show after they had come over to our house to visit. After several unsuccessful minutes of trying to convince him of going in, Pat finally went and purchased a ticket and gave it to his dad. Not one to turn down a free admission, his dad finally accompanied them in, grumbling as he walked through the front gate.
Pat had attended the show the year before and thought his parents would be interested in it. Once inside, they were impressed by the extensive engine displays and especially liked the working exhibits. Having his parents along provided even more information as they remembered using different engines often when they were younger.
Before long, uninterested Dad was browsing through the piles of 'collectibles' that were for sale by the exhibitors and also in the flea market. After a long day of talking with engine people and walking through the flea market and arts and crafts building, they finally called it quits and left. Not much was said about the show by his dad until the next summer, when he questioned Pat as to when 'that engine show was.' Then that September, the entire family attended the show and enjoyed it, especially our children.
The following May, Pat received a Stover engine for his birthday that his parents had bought while on a trip to Wisconsin to attend a wedding. They admittedly had been trying to find an engine show to attend while in Wisconsin and had come across the Stover engine for sale. This was just the beginning of the collecting that was to follow. Before long, Dad had bought his first engine, a green Fairbanks Morse, and then built a trailer to haul the engine. He added a reciprocating metal saw run by the engine to the display.
By now, my in-laws were attending engine shows in the Midwest, and Dad soon had his little trailer full as he added Maytag and John Deere engines to the collection along with a working drill press. As you can probably guess, it wasn't too long before Dad had to get a BIGGER trailer and then of course some kind of shelter needed to be built to store his display. By this time, the whole family had joined the Van Buren Flywheelers and were actively involved in helping with upcoming shows. Even Pat's brother Mike has a few engines that he received from his parents, and he attends shows in Michigan.
To say the 'Flywheeler Fever' has hit our family is to put t mildly. As Dad's collection has grown so has ours. There's nothing too fancy or unusual about our engines but we love attending the shows and displaying them just the same. As you can probably guess-Pat's uninterested dad has the largest engine display in our family!