613 8th Avenue, Charles City, Iowa 50616
The Cedar Valley Engine Club had a real good year. Our oat crop
was excellent in spite of the dry weather. We had a little rain
couple of the nights during the show, but it didn’t seem to
hold the crowd back and it settled the dust for us. In fact, two
weeks before the show we were worried that it was going to be so
dusty that people wouldn’t come. It was really dry out here in
northern Iowa this year.
We had people from all over again this year, from as far away as
England. We featured the Allis Chalmers and Rumely equipment line
this year and we had a good, big exhibit of machinery and tractors.
There were several Rumely tractors, including a big 90 horse Rumely
steam engine. It’s a big, heavy, nicely-built steam engine and
it is in good shape too. It does a good job on the saw mill or the
threshing machine. We usually put it on the saw mill because
it’s the biggest engine we’ve got.
We had our big Fairbanks Morse 3 cylinder semi-diesel engine
mounted on concrete this year. We have been very fortunate with
this engine. It came from a railroad crane and was donated by a man
who lives near Winona, Minnesota. A member of our club used to work
on them in his younger days and had even gone to Fairbanks Morse
school. We took the engine to his home in Stacyville, Iowa and he
restored it there. A year ago, we had it running at the show while
sitting on some wooden blocks, but that wasn’t satisfactory.
This past summer, we got busy and dug some foundations, poured some
concrete, and had it bolted down solid. It’s a real nice
showpiece. It takes quite a while to start it, but that’s
really the show spot of it. The blow torches must be started first.
The flame blows onto a glow plug that in turn heats up the head and
the water that is in the head. The water temperature must be about
160 degrees. There is also an air tank that must have about 160
pounds of pressure. This air is used to turn over the engine, and
it usually starts the first piston up. It’s a nice show piece
and quite an attention-getter.
Then we have another big single cylinder engine that belongs to
Eldon Hungerford. We mounted that on concrete too. We started to
build a machine shed to put over these engines, but didn’t get
it completed this fall. It froze up too quick.
My two sons have a two-hole corn sheller that is a real good
exhibit. They run the sheller almost all day, each day of the show,
shelling one large wagon-load of corn. They use my 8 HP Waterloo
Boy engine, which I understand is a rare engine. It sat for about
forty years before I got a hold of it. It has good compression and
runs beautifully now. It’s more power than they need on a
2-hole sheller, but it works well.
Then we did the usual threshing of oats, ran two machines, about
three loads of bundles each day. We had a new addition to the club
this year. One of our young fellows saw a 28 inch Red River Special
threshing machine south of Green, near Allison. He stopped to see
the guy and the guy gave it to him. He wanted to use my big Oliver
900 to go down there and get it because it has a fast road gear in
it, so I told him he could use the tractor if he gave me half
interest in the threshing machine.
Then one day I was sitting in the mall in Charles City and a guy
from Clarksville came along and sat down beside of me and we got to
talking about different things. I have quite a lot of relatives
down around Clarksville. He said, ‘You know, I have an 18-36
Hart Parr that my father-in-law bought new, and I’d like to
have some help with it. The fan jimmed the radiator and there are a
few other things wrong with it.’ Well, I didn’t get down to
see him right away and I saw him again in the mall and he begged me
to come down and help him. I said, ‘How about selling it?’
I bought it from him and let that young friend of mine who got the
Red River threshing machine have it. He went clear through it and
got it all repainted. It looks better than when it was brand new.
So that was a new addition to our show this year.
The threshing machine we usually use is a Huber. We run that
with a steam engine. We also have a corn shredder. One of our
members cuts some corn in the fall of the year and stores it in his
barn until the next Labor Day. Then he loads it up again to bring
out to the show, and shreds the corn fodder. A lot of young folks
don’t know what that is. I’ve run an old 6-hole McCormick
shredder in my younger days, fed from both sides. The guys lay the
bundles up there and cut the bands for you and boy we could shred
fodder. So I knew about corn shredders. Fed lots of it.
We wish we had a place to plow, but our space is limited here on
account of the farm program. Most of us have seen plowing done
Our big Norberg Corliss cross-compound steam air compressor
engine that came from the Rumely factory is a real showpiece. The
boys really got it running good at about 15-20 rpm, and there’s
absolutely no sound except for the clicking of the valves. It’s
exhausted outside, but because it is a cross-compound engine, there
is not much noise to the exhaust either.
This coming year we are going to feature Oliver/Hart-Parr, and I
invite all of you to come. We started in 1966, so this will be our
25th anniversary show. We got our figures mixed up there for a
while. We’re looking forward to having a lot of Oliver and
Hart-Parr tractors there. Of course, there are a lot of them in
this area. Anyone that wants to bring one and show with us are
welcome, we’ll be glad to have them bring it. You might even
come a day or two before the show and help us set up.
There is a new club that is starting up here in Charles City
called the Hart-Parr/Oliver Club. A number of people are
interested, one of whom is related to the Hart family. You may see
other articles about it.
Besides all this, Iowa is just a good place to visit, especially
northern Iowa. The Little Brown Church in the Vale is about
nineteen miles from the show grounds, or about twelve miles
southeast of Charles City. It’s really an old landmark, that
Little Brown Church in the Vale. I wish we had a quartet that would
sing that song some day out to the show grounds. I love that old
song, ‘The Little Brown Church in the Vale.’ Of course, my
mother went to Sunday School there some of the time, and I’ve
attended church there.
Of course we have the usual run of tractors: International,
Farmall, John Deere, Massey Harris, and Case. We’ve got a 1914
or 1915 two cylinder Post Case, either a 12-24 or 12-25. I
don’t know which it is. It was owned down here south of Charles
City. It’s never been repainted and you can see some of the
original decals on it. I wish they could be brought out.
There’s a fellow from Plainfield who comes up and runs it; he
also ran it as a young man. It’s a funny-sounding engine, that
two cylinder Post. If it’s running anywhere on the grounds and
you go to do any recording, that’s about all you can hear, that
old two cylinder Case. It’s a good tractor, as far as I know
it’s never been overhauled or anything.
You can see most all the different brands at our show. We never
know what we’re going to have. That’s what makes these
shows interesting-to anticipate what someone’s going to bring
in that is new and unusual. We have the usual run of gas engines,
just about name it and we’ve got it, as well as a lot of
A lot of the young folks in our club are really getting
interested in these old engines. It’s fascinating to them.
It’s history. And we should support our young people and help
them to get interested and keep history coming alive, because us
old guys are not going to be here forever. Some of us think
we’re going to be, but I’m afraid we’ve got another
You have to come and see for yourself. We’re seven miles
west of Charles City, Iowa on Highway 14; as you go around the
bend, look to the right where 14 goes straight south. We’re
there on the right of what we call the Rockford road. It’s out
in the country. We have the old barn and the house, corn crib, and
hog house where we have flea market. We also have a good lunch
stand, door prize drawing at 4 o’clock, and a bandshell where
our live old time music is performed. Show dates are September 1,
2, and 3, 1990.