The First Annual Catoctin Antique Gas Engine Show was held on October 6 and 7, 1973 at the Wolfsville Ruritan Community Park, Myersville, Md.
The weather was ideal, two beautiful days with a warm sun and gentle breeze. This added to the scenic beauty of the mountain stream that flows thru the park which is surrounded by many large oaks and maples. With their colored leaves, a nearby farmer, Donald Kuhn, permitted the club the use of his field for parking for those who came to smell the smoke and listen to the noise of the running engines that were on display.
The Catoctin Gas Engine Show was conceived to give the gas men their day in the sun. The restricted display space, unfortunately, necessitated the elimination of the large steam rigs that give many hours of wonderment. The gas men had a ball. It was truly; 'Caution, Adults at Play'.
When the idea was conceived, local gas engines enthusiasts were contacted for their help and advice. The late Gilbert Gouker and his son, Bob, Middletown, Md. and Elmer Rice, Hagerstown, Md., were available and ready to help in any way possible. They both kept prodding; when is the date set for the show? Everyone who was contacted for advice asked only what they could do to help and how many engines were requested of them. All known owners of the 'one-lungers' who were contacted in the central Maryland area responded by brining their engines.
Plans were laid in January and many letters were sent out and phone calls made. A list of known exhibitors was made, craftsmen and flea market personnel were contacted for this fine weekend.
All local newspapers were used for feature articles as well as radio stations for personal interviews. Posters were placed at neighboring engine shows and hand bills were passed out. We talked to anyone who would listen so they could pass the word for us.
Finally, the week before the show was at hand and the enthusiasm was growing. At the end of this week we hoped to have fifty engines on display. All plans were laid, committees formed and we were ready. The ladies of the Ruritan Club were in a stew. How should they prepare their food? What will be the spectator response? No one knew. They, as well as the Club, took a shot in the dark and came out like champs. The food was excellent.
Sam Gladhill, Frederick, Maryland, was the first to arrive with his Waterloo Boy and shingle mill. When we arrived at the park on Friday, October 5, 1973 at 9:00 a.m., Sam had already arrived with his logs in order that Sam could cut his shingles; and cut them he did. All day Friday and Friday evening, engines were brought in for display. Kenneth Smith, Middletown, Maryland, made many trips to haul his own engines and engines for others who did not have sufficient transportation facilities. Exhibitors arrived thru 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The late arrivals were as a direct result of word-of-mouth advertisement that a show was going on up in Maryland. Clarence Wolfe, William Strum, Leo Straws and Harry Smith heard about the show. Sunday morning, loaded their 1-1/2 ton truck with their fine display and drove eighty-five miles just so they could be a part of their hobby; perpetuating the crafts and machinery of our forefathers.
Marvin Klair, Wilmington, Del., and Lawrence Price, Harrington, Del., made reservations in a nearby motel and arrived early in order to be on hand for the entire show. They did not want to miss anything.
There was a great spirit of sharing during the entire show. As a direct result of the talents of these fine exhibitors, many problems and bugs were worked out of engines that were on display and not running too well. My son was very thankful for the assistance that was given him by Gordon Warehime and his son, Lineboro, Md. Bill Starkey, Laytonsville, Md. was busy helping anyone he could.
The atmosphere was more like a festival than an engine show. Grover Jones, Wilson, N.C. stopped off On his way back home and had a fine time reminiscing.
There was great pride on the part of the exhibitors as they were asked questions on their equipment. They explained the many intricate operations and methods of restoration. Bob Gouker was kept busy telling the history of his Havana and Geyser; Elmer Rice tried to explain why the Mallen-Conley seemed not to fire and Charley Carbaugh, Waynesboro, Pa., demonstrated how he shrank his three engines to come up with the miniatures he displayed.
The days started early (5:0 a.m.) with a fine breakfast prepared by the men and women of the Wolfsville Ruritan Club. After the last drop of coffee was drunk, the engines were cleaned, adjusted and refueled for the days running. The flea market men spread their wares, waiting for the sun to cut thru the dew and warm the air. The food was prepared to feed the many people who came with curiosity to see the shenanigans that were going on in the valley. The slippery potpie, bean soup and ham sandwiches were prepared for the day.
I should not tell this story as the women preparing the food will blush but they ran out of food four times in the course of the two day show. Even though this was an unknown quantity, these people came thru with plenty of delicious food.
In addition to the thirty-nine exhibitors with their one hundred one engines, ranging from the miniatures to a ten H.P. Titan owned and operated by Edgar Delauter, Lantz, Maryland, there were five antique tractors that were used on the shingle mill, three antique cars and an operating handmade steam locomotive owned by Emory Doyle, Myersville, Md.
There were a few craftsmen who demonstrated their talents including the village smithie, Louis Gillinger, Martinsburg, W.Va., Lou could keep his audience in suspense.
Safety was a prime factor. Some questions presented to G.E.M. was referred to R. Dayton Nichols, Stafford, N.Y. for his answering with his guidance. We had an accident free show. We feel more than 5000 persons showed up to enjoy the efforts of these fine gas men.
This year's show will be bigger and better. It will be held on October 5th and 6th, 1974, same place, same station. Look for the ads in G.E.M. We look forward to seeing as many people as possible.