Ralph Loomis's shingle mill with the bags of sawdust being removed during the show.
Box 55 Nineveh, New York 13813
The 17th annual Southern Tier Antique Gas and Steam Engine Show was held on August 23, 24 and 25 at the village park in Maine, New York. It has gone down memory lane as the biggest and best. In its wake there was a touch of sadness. The club was formed six years before the first show, which puts the original members in another generation; they too are going down memory lane. They will never be forgotten, because they leave behind their beautiful nieces of restored antiquity.
Over the past 17 years the shows have had everything in them. Our members are very skilled when it comes to duplicating life on the farm in the last century. Most of our more than 300 members have more than one exhibit, so they bring one or two and leave the others home for next year. Our shows are all different.
We always have a good show because it is the second generation running it now. It is in good hands because those kids grew up in old iron. They are not new to the game. In fact, some in their early twenties were not even born when the club was formed.
One doesn't have to be crazy to belong to the club, but it does help. A little para-engine-oia makes the ideal club member. We must not feel bad when they call us iron nuts. They called Edison and other great inventors nuts too, but look what they did for the world. In this restoration of old iron we may not be famous inventors, but inventors we are. Sometimes it takes a lot of inventing to replace those missing parts.
It's only a matter of time before our environmental problems get the better of us and we won't have enough air to breathe. At that time, our engine clubs will come up with many of the answers to save energy. We just revert back in time before the automobiles and other polluters.
Our club also has the fun loving side where there is always a joker. I enjoyed Gerald Reynolds' sign at the 1990 and 1991 shows. It said, 'Warning: My wife is mentally disturbed-engines are really not for sale.' I met his wife and could see nothing was wrong with her mind, unless it was putting up with her husband's mania for old iron.
Ralph Loomis's Oil Pull and shingle mill has not missed a show in 17 years. Last year he came with a cane, this year he came in a wheelchair, but his shingle mill seemed to be sawing more shingles than ever. In fact they had to bag the saw dust and haul it away during the show.
Dave MacDonald has made a name for himself with his fine workmanship on all kinds of engines and models. He gets something nice, plays with it for a while, and then swaps it off. He would make somebody a good housewife because you can't find a speck of dust on any of his toys.
Ed Farley and Ray Bunzey ran the auction. It started at six and was going strong at bedtime. They were sharp when it came to old iron, but were stumped when they came to a long pole on a Homelite engine. Somebody had to tell them the long pole with the hook on it was to put in a tree to shake off the nuts.
This auction was like all the rest; anything I wanted to buy went high and the other stuff went cheap. The professional auctioneer donated his commission to the land fund, which is increasing at a slow rate. We need our own land to build a museum and to expand because we are suffering growing pains. The 10 acre town park in Maine, New York, is becoming too small. There are many engine clubs in New York and Pennsylvania, all within commuting distance. Our members go to their shows, and their members come to ours. Some of our members belong to several clubs. This is why we must hold our annual show the last weekend in August so as not to conflict with the other shows.
People out west do not realize New York history. Farming was at its peak when some of the states were just forming. There are a lot of antiques left over from those days, which explains why there are so many engine clubs and why we are suffering growing pains.
It will be a sad day when we outgrow the village park. The village of Maine has always bent over backwards for us. We even use the town hall for our monthly meetings. There are two meetings a month, one a regular meeting, the other a meeting of the satellite club, which is a working part of the club where members restore their old iron. The satellite meeting is held in the workshops of different members.
The club is doing its part for the economy of Maine, New York. At every show the visitors and campers spend a lot of money at the area stores and businesses. In appreciation, the village of Maine always has the town band give a concert, and sends over an exhibit. This year it was their 1926 Chevrolet fire truck, which is a very precious museum piece. It attracted a lot of attention with the hand cranked siren in the parade.
Everybody has a good time. We don't forget the children; the kiddie tractor pull makes their day. This too had its excitement. It seems the night before the pull the big guys, not the big kids, were playing with it. The first pull was under 45 pounds, and the tractor broke down with the second contestant and had to be repaired before they could finish the pull. The big guys got off the hook when they finished the tractor pull without further mishap.
Like all shows, it came to a close when everybody started leaving after the fun, leaving behind the president and other members of the cleanup crew. The park is ready for the 1992 show the last weekend in August. Keep this date in mind and come see us.