Some of the Allis Chalmers tractors in the special display at Rough & Tumble
c/o Rough & Tumble, Box 9, Kinzers, PA 17535
The Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association at Kinzers, Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, held their 37th Old Threshermen's Reunion this year from Wednesday, August 21 through Saturday, August 24. Traditionally the show ends on Saturday so that Sunday can be a day of rest.
This show has been referred to, at one time or another, as 'one of the oldest steam and gas engine shows', as 'one of the largest steam and gas shows in the East', and as 'the most complete steam and gas show east of the Mississippi'. The 1985 show could be described by all these statements.
The show included a wide variety of items and something for the old and the young, the men, women, and children, the rural and the urban people, the local people, and people from foreign countries. This year's show included models (about 57 exhibitors displayed a wide variety of models), antique and classic wheel tractors, crawler tractors, garden tractors (with over 145 tractors), steam traction engines, portable steam engines, steam roller, steam crane (with over 25 steam type engines), portable gas engines (over 372 gas engines, up from 335 last year), stationary steam engines, large and small, and large stationary gas engines. Other features included a live steam railroad for children, shay type steam railroad for passenger service, complete saw mill with steam or tractor power, shingle mill, stone crusher, threshing machines, horse drawn equipment, hand tool displays, household tools and equipment display. Craftsmen demonstrated blacksmithing, weaving, spinning and door mat making and shoppers patronized the flea market. This is a partial list of the displays at this year's show, but there was much more going on.
Food was available around the grounds, served by R & T Ladies' Auxiliary, the local fire company, milk producers and several other vendors. Twice each day different lectures on R & T artifacts were given in the 'Country Store' tent where there were displays of household items and artifacts. The office/gift shop at the main gate was busy selling R & T related gifts and memberships. Nearby the information building sold books and magazines related to the show and served as the first-aid station.
Early each afternoon, at 1 p.m., a special demonstration called 'The Pageant of Threshing' showed small grain threshing from the time of the flail to the end of the threshing machine era. Several sources of power were used, including a treadmill, a four-horse sweep, a steam traction engine, and a kerosene-burning tractor (Rumely).
Later each afternoon, about 3:45 p.m., a parade called 'The Parade of Power' was held on the old tractor pull track, with filled bleachers and many people standing on each side. The parade announcers told a little about each participant as they passed by. It included everything from oxen to garden tractors and even a 'kitchen band' by the ladies.
This is the fourth year that a special display has been set up featuring a certain major line of tractors and farm machinery. The companies which now comprise the Allis Chalmers line were featured. In previous years International Harvester (1982), John Deere (1983), and Case (1984) were displayed. In 1986, the Oliver branch of the White Farm Equipment will be featured. Another special display is planned for 1986 which is a special gasoline engine display featuring the New Holland engine. Several large panoramic photos were taken showing all the gasoline-powered equipment and showing all the steam powered equipment.
Each evening a program was held. There was a threshing demonstration and fiddling performance on Wednesday, square dancing on Thursday, steam engine and gas tractor games on Friday, and a hymn sing-along on Saturday. After a little rain on Wednesday morning, the next three days of the show were blessed with beautiful weather. Approximately 14,000 paying visitors attended, not including all the hard-working members and exhibitors who made this show possible. A survey taken by use of a questionnaire showed that 99.4% of the people would attend again.
Next year's reunion is planned for the third full weekend in August which makes it a little earlier than usual. Activities for 1986 start with Spring Picture Night on May 9, with Spring Steam-Up May 9 & 10. The Annual Reunion will be August 13 through 16, and Fall Picture Night and Show will be October 10, 11.