On the weekend of June 30 a handful of 'Old Engine Friends' met at a small farm outside of Lafayette. There was good food, soft drinks and the first antique engine show this state has ever had! Represented were 19th and 20th century Fairbanks Morse, Waterloo, Bessemer, Fairmont, Stover, Leiroy, Domestic, Novo, Cushman and Jaeger, Rock Island, Lockwood Ash, John Deere gas engines. There was also a Golden cane mill, a rice mill and an Avery steam engine. Exhibitors and guests alike had a ball, asking and answering questions and showing off once-upon-a-time workers turned toys! Most of the guests had never known of such a hobby, much less attended a show of machinery that has played an important part in our history. Stories abounded! One man told me about a stern-wheel boat his uncle had used to pull logs to the sawmill that they called the boat 'SNORTIN' BILLY' because of the characteristic sound of its one cylinder 6 HP gas engine. His voice conveyed a fond memory of a happy time and a sincere thankfullness that we are preserving the machines that revive those memories.
Our first show lasted all day Saturday and Sunday and was one continuous sound of engines ticking away. A 12 HP Fairbanks Morse model N chugged along at 60 RPM making a hit stroke to about 30 miss strokes! It was the heaviest, slowest and oldest gas engine at the show. A 15 HP screen cooled Fairbanks Morse Z model on trucks was surely the most powerful and was beautifully restored to original. A vertical FM T model puffed out its song on a trailer alongside a vertical 3 HP 1907 Bessemer. A long line of open crank, one cylinder engines puffed, rattled and monkey-motioned their share of attention from the guests and exhibitors. A 1? HP FM fitted with a 2' straight exhaust and a rich kerosene mixture regularly puffed out smoke rings. To the amazement of its lady owner, a small poodle dog leaped into the air trying to bite the curious white rings! The show ended with all in attendance having been well entertained. Interest in our hobby zoomed!! Collectors and guests asked 'when's the next one?'
'The next one' was October 27th in the form of a private meet at a member's home. From a handful of 'engine friends' we have grown to 'The Bayou Old Time Engine and Power Association.' Our club has 20 members with an inventory of more than 150 engines. The October 27th meet had new members with impressive displays. Palmer, Nadler, Lockwood Ash, Evinrude, Detroit and Cali were marine engines exhibited. Hercules, Witte, McCormick Deering, Brownwall, Eclipse and Fairbanks Morse were one lungers shown. There were 47 engines at the meet. The 'Olie Mae,' a turn of the century skiff powered by a 2? HP Lockwood Ash spent most of the day put-putting up and down the nearby Bayou, showing off its ease of reversing. A flag, nicely lettered, 'The Bayou Old Time Engine and Power Association, was at full mast.
Yes sir, Louisiana engine nuts have a club. Collecting is good down here-a wide variety is still out in the bush waiting to dress up for our next show!
We welcome comments from you about forming a new club and we welcome applicants to our club. Our president is Ralph Olmstad, 120 Guadalajara, New Iberia, Louisiana 70560.