Power From the Past Annual Show

| November/December 1998

  • Rotary rock crusher at 1998 show
    Rotary rock crusher at 1998 show.
  • Clark engine
    Clark engine and engineer Harry Dumont, 1998.

  • Rotary rock crusher at 1998 show
  • Clark engine

5801 E, 5th Street Tucson, Arizona 85711

We finished our prime annual show in April 1998, in conjunction with the Pima County Town and Country Fair, a 10-day event, and it was bigger than ever with even more exhibitors from other states than in previous years. Exhibitors from three other clubs Arizona Early Day Antique Engine and Tractor Association, Arizona Fly-wheelers, and New Mexico Vintage Iron con tribute heavily yearly at this show. This year we had exhibitors from Idaho, North Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, and Oregon. We had 119 engines this year, and many go-withs such as water pumps, corn shelters, grinders, generators, washing machines, rock crushers, post drills, a milk machine vacuum pump engine with a milking machine, and quite a few model engines and go-withs.

Our 'Home Setting' of household antiques in our exhibit building was nearly overflowing. The womenfolk in our club started the exhibit with antique house wares five years agonow more and more men are bringing some of their collections in. Guess Edna O'Day, the gal who is in charge, is going to limit the collections next year, as she has run out of room for everybody's collections to be displayed properly, and this is an enormous Butler type building adjacent to our huge outdoor engine show area.

In our outdoor engine area, we have five items at present permanently mounted, with more waiting to be mounted and more for us to haul in! The first unit we permanently mounted was a 1916 Clark Bros of New York, 60 HP two stroke well head gas engine. It was used to run a pump, to pump water to cool oil pumping engines for Standard Oil Company in Ventura, California. It is owned by one of our members, Ron Uphan of Tucson, Arizona. At the same time and next to the Clark we mounted a 1918 Bessemer 15 HP engine that Ron also owns, and he hauled it from Pennsylvania. It was used in the Tennessee oil fields to power well heads of five oil wells. We built a shed over both of these, as they have been nicely restored. Opposite these is a B.V. Nordberg 150 HP steam engine, patented January 31, 1893. It is run on compressed air from an old Worthington four-wheeled compressor. The club bought an Ingersoll-Rand compressor and hauled it in from a place in Colorado. It was originally used to pump natural gas for the city of Denver, Colorado, and more recently to produce compressed air for a mine near Denver. The compressor has a 6 inch bore and 10 inch stroke. It will be belted up to our 60 horse Clark. It will be used to power our steam engine after we get it set up. Next to these three engines, we mounted a 1944 Ruston 17 HP diesel-fueled engine owned by Buster Brown of Welton, Arizona. On the opposite side of our engine show area, at the same time we mounted the Ruston, we have a restored and working rock crusher of the rotary type, a No. 2 Austin Mfg. Company of Chicago, Illinois, owned by another club member, Joe Mooney. It came from a gold mine of the 1920s from Montana and is powered by belt from one of the tractors. It chews up rocks of 12 inches and spits them out about the size of an inch. We are in the process of removing a Skinner 400 HP steam engine that has been donated to us from the Apache Powder Plant of St. David, Arizona. So far, we have removed and transported the crankshaft and the two-halves flywheel. This engine is in a building, in amongst the machinery that the plant still uses. They no longer produce dynamite, but do produce blasting grade ammonia nitrate and nitrate fertilizer. This engine is hard to dismantle and remove because of what I stated above, but piece by piece, it will come out. It weighs 65,000 pounds total and is attached to an alternating current 512 KVA generator, of which is part of our package, and produced the electrical power for the plant from 1926-1982. It is 400 HP at 150 rpm with a 22' bore and a 24' stroke. We also have two saw mills that need restoring, assembling, and permanent mounting. The largest mill was bought by the club and transported by Bucky Stevens and his young son Nathaniel. All of the above mounted projects are running during our fair show.

The engineers of our club are hoping to find an I.D plate for our Clark Brothers engine and information pertaining to the timing and the right procedure of fueling with propane for it; we have it running pretty good but sometimes it seems to load-up and it lets out a big bang! We also need to know the horsepower and rpm. We think it is a 60 HP engine. It has a 14' bore and a 20'stroke and is a two cycle engine. Anyone out there in GEM Land who can help, your input would be most appreciated and responses would be answered.

The tractor pull area is adjacent to the engine area and has a very nice track on it. This year we had probably 150 tractors pulling. Two of our members, Charley Sagers and Bucky Stevens, ramrodded the building of our L.S.T.E. (Low Speed Traction Evaluator), model BC (Bucky & Charley), serial number 970412 (1997 April 12, first official pull) for the tractor pull competitions, which were held late mornings and mid-afternoons both weekends. This unit was begun in 1995 and completed on December 4, 1996. We also have built a four-wheeled water spray wagon to wet down the dirt areas and the pull track. It was also built at the same time as the L.S.T.E. at Charley's place in Green Valley, Arizona.

Our basic itinerary goes like the followingFirst Saturday evening: steak fry, bring your own steak and bring something to share. This year was a 'steak fondue on a pitch fork', different but cooked steaks a great way (deep fried). Sunday morning: pot luck breakfast with hot cakes, scrambled eggs and sausage and bring something to share. After the breakfast the first Sunday we had the Great American Mouse Trap Race for distance. Yours truly spun out this year. For those who don't know what a mouse trap race is, it is a little four-wheeled miniature race car that comes as a kit to build and is powered by a mouse trap. We always have a large crowd in the building to watch the races. Everyone has a good time cheering on their favorite car or race driver. Last year Buster Brown's car won as it went across the concrete floor of our antique household building and about eight feet out the door. I came in third place, then. This year none went out the door. Of course, Buster didn't compete either!

After the mouse trap race, outside, there was a cast iron skillet throwing for distance contest which many wives and friends competed. Ruth Senkbeil threw it the farthest, 43.3 feet. I understand she is doing some push-ups and arm wrestling to get her arm in better shape for next year. So look out, you other gals. This contest was a first for our club. The large crowd cheered on their favorite 'athletes' and dodged the flying cast iron as some of the athletes had slippery hands! Everyone had a good time and no one got hit by the flying cast iron! The following Saturday evening we had a Chili Pot-Luck Dinner. Everyone was encouraged to bring something to dump into our huge gas-fired cast iron kettle to brew chili, m-mm good! Sunday morning was pot luck breakfast again, only it was biscuits and gravy, also mmm good! All these festivities happen early in the mornings before fair-goers get in. The fair grounds open at 10:00 a.m. There is also an R.V. camp area adjacent to our area with first-come, first-serve for hookups, and there is a show building on the grounds for everyone. We also have pre-selected motels available for our exhibitors. Oh! also several of us get together and make homemade ice cream for everyone on Saturday afternoons and any other time we feel like it.

We had a pair of special exhibitors this year, Phillip and Betty Blanchard of Illinois, with their rope-making machine, making free jump ropes. They made nearly a mile of rope for the children. They used 12 bundles of twine x 60 ropes per bundle =720 10 pcs @ 6.5 ft. per rope, that's 4680 ft. over 10 days, 468 feet per day!

We are a young club of rusty iron collectors and exhibitors, though many of us have been exhibiting for many years in the other two older clubs in the state. We became organized in 1992. We participate as a club in the annual 4 of July Parade in Benson, Arizona, using the tractors in the club with some pulling a wagon loaded with rusty iron things (the last three years we have won a trophy for our group). We also take part in the Green Valley Parade and the Sierra Vista Christmas Parade. We have an engine fire-up at the annual Tombstone Helldorado Days celebration at the Arizona State Historic Courthouse parking lot and street on Saturday, and the parade down Allen Street on Sunday with the tractors, some pulling trailers loaded with various rusty iron such as antique washing machines run by engines. We have a Tombstone native by the name of Lu-Lu Belle dressed in clothing of the 1880s period, with bonnet, missing teeth, and freckles. What a sight! On Saturday evening, on the courthouse grounds, we usually are treated to a good old hamburger barbecue and potluck dinner, along with Art's special barbecued ribs and, of course, we crank out the ol' I.C.F.'s for some home-spun ice cream. (Art is one of the park rangers and Lu-Lu Belle is his better half). Usually this shin-dig concludes in some sort of entertainment. This celebration is scheduled annually around the date of the famous 'Gun Fight At The O.K. Corral' between the Earps, Doc Holliday, Clantons and McLarys (see story GEM, page 29, September 1995).

If anyone would want to show at the next event, April 8-18, 1999, one can contact our president, Jerry Rasmussen, at (520) 290-3278 or write 3740 S. Treck, Tucson, Arizona 85730. Also, the race cars are available from Jerry.

So y'all come on down here and enjoy our club's activities. You are all welcome, and as Jerry says, 'Come when you can and leave when you must!'


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