The First Annual Catoctin Antique Gas Engine Show was held on
October 6 and 7, 1973 at the Wolfsville Ruritan Community Park,
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
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
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
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