Emphasis on Old Engines at Portland Show
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Their current project is a 1918 Model E (SN 401). When finished, it will be on permanent loan to the Hancock Historical Museum in Findlay, Ohio, as part of a "made in Ohio" exhibit.
Aleck Smith, St. Mary's, Ontario, Canada, has been exhibiting his John Deere equipment collection at Portland since 1986. His display this year included a valuable 1940s-era John Deere 12A 8 hp engine once used to power a seven-foot combine, and a 1934 JD 3 hp engine. He also showed a 1920 JD two-horse walking plow, and a J. Fleury & Sons grinder used for cracking corn and rolling oats.
Debbie and Edwin Clark, Delmar, Iowa, displayed Wisconsin-built engines. Debbie is most proud of a Wisconsin Model AB 2 1/2 hp that she bought at an auction for $10. She enjoys the historical aspect of the hobby, and likes to pass that on to the next generation. During the show, the Clarks demonstrate engine power by blowing up balloons for kids.
"I love all the engines," Debbie says. "Watching how water was pumped from the well ... how old timers used log saws to prepare lumber ... the kids are amazed!"
A rare treasure is on permanent exhibit: A 1923 Fairbanks-Morse Model YV 100 hp engine. From 1923 to 1946, the two-cycle, two-cylinder engine was used to press tile in a Brownstown, Ind., tile factory. The engine weighs about 10 tons; a four-foot flywheel weighs about two tons. Each of two pistons is about 14 inches in diameter. The valveless engine produces 50 hp per cylinder at about 200 rpm. When the engine starts up, all eyes and ears follow the smoke and noise.
The Spark Plug Collectors of America held their 24th annual meeting in conjunction with the 1999 Portland show. The 300-member group has its own pavilion on the fairgrounds where collectible spark plugs are displayed, swapped and sold. Member exhibits showcased the wide variety of plugs available.
"Every internal combustion engine used a spark plug, and more than 2,000 companies made them in the 20th century," said Chad Windham, group president, Pendleton, Ore. "Every manufacturer thought he had a better idea for a plug that would not fail." FC
For more information: Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association, Jack Rouch, 310 E. North St., Portland, IN 47371; (260) 726-4036. Online at http://tristategasengineandt.intuitwebsites.com.
Retired librarian Virginia Felts is a travel writer, focusing on museums and historic sites. Her interest in the Portland show dates to her childhood on a family farm in that area.
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