California Gold Antique Engines Show

2010 California Gold Show Spotlights California Engines

| April/May 2010

  • Engines at the California Gold show

    Woody Sins
  • 8 HP Union with generator
    8 HP Union with generator. The Union is an open-crank, sideshaft vertical engine, as were many of the engines featured at the 2010 California Gold show.
    Woody Sins
  • An unusual Samson vertical, with belt-driven steam engine style governor
    An unusual Samson vertical, with belt-driven steam engine style governor. Most California engines seem to be throttle governed. 
    Woody Sins
  • Best engine owned by Greg Johnson
    Best engine owned by Greg Johnson.
    Woody Sins
  • A very unusual Sterns engine
    A very unusual Sterns engine, made in Los Angeles and owned by Bob Critz, of Vista, CA. This is one of only two known Sterns engines.
    Woody Sins
  • Pacific marine engine with a gearless design
    Pacific marine engine with a gearless design.
    Woody Sins
  • Hadwen Swain Engine
    The gears seen in the pictures are for reversing the engine. This Hadwen Swain Engine is governed by increasing tension on the intake valve spring as the engine speeds. up.
    Woody Sins
  • Standard engine made in San Francisco
    Standard engine made in San Francisco, also controlled by limited the intake valve.
    Woody Sins
  • A pair of Western engines
    A pair of Western engines.
    Woody Sins

  • Engines at the California Gold show
  • 8 HP Union with generator
  • An unusual Samson vertical, with belt-driven steam engine style governor
  • Best engine owned by Greg Johnson
  • A very unusual Sterns engine
  • Pacific marine engine with a gearless design
  • Hadwen Swain Engine
  • Standard engine made in San Francisco
  • A pair of Western engines

The California Gold antique engine show has become almost legendary in antique engine circles.

This show, which celebrated its seventh year on May 15, 2010, is an invitation-only show, consisting solely of California-made engines, such as Samson Engines, Best Engines, Union Engines, Regan Engines and Hicks Engines. The 2010 engine show was nestled among the redwood grove of this year’s host, Ken McCrary, near Davenport, CA.

Golden opportunity 

California engines are not common back East. An occasional Samson engine or engines on loan to the Coolspring Power Museum are about all of the exposure Eastern collectors get. Names like Best, Union, Regan and Hicks are almost unheard of.



Union engines were featured this year, including a fine 8 HP Union generator set owned by Greg Wakeman. Greg Johnson brought his Best engine and Dick Hamp’s fine 1892 2 HP Regan Vapor marine engine, which was featured in the April/May 2010 Gas Engine Magazine. The only two Hadwen Swain engines were exhibited, as well as a few Hicks vertical marine engines with full running gear. A pair of gearless Pacific engines were exhibited; one with an interesting reverse gear personally caught my eye.

Part of the experience of the show was a visit to the Swanton Pacific Railroad. This is a wonderful steam powered scale railroad just down the road from the show. It was in operation especially for the California Gold event.

Don Halvorson
3/30/2011 12:25:25 PM

I would have loved to have attended. Who decides who is invited? How do we getr a chance to attend and where and when is the next show?




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