Steam traction engine

Port Huron steam traction engine owned by Skip Dufour, 708 John Ave., Wells, Michigan. That's Clarence Sherman at the throttle.

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510 N. 21st. Street, Escanaba, MI49829.

Wish you could all have been to the First Annual Show of the Upper Peninsula Steam and Gas Engine Association Inc. at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba, Michigan.

The morning of September 18 dawned partly cloudy to the relief of Skip Dufour and myself. (We signed the note at the bank for $800 to finance the show). I was at church about 9 A.M. when Pastor Howell came in and said the fellows over at the fairgrounds were getting steam up and things were starting to move. (I understand Skip Dufour and Clarence Sherman started firing up the steam engines at 6 A.M. with wet wood. Was Sherm ever excited!) By 5 P.M. 250 (paid) people had come in and favorable reports had come from all of them. One man stopped by on his way back from a large show in Minnesota and said we had better equipment than they did! Not as much, but older and better restored. Several people wanted to join the Association, a few wanted to buy or sell, or ask for advice about tractors or engines they owned.

Threshing went well (oats) with our 22' Bell City thresher operated by Skip's superb Port Huron steam traction engine. Terry Alexander's G.P. John Deere pulled the thresher well too, but really barked when the fellows laid the bundles in end to end.

Allen Dill kept the people entertained with his early Fairmont, People had a hard time understanding how it ran either way. Al Strahl kept the engines on 'Gasoline Alley' gassed, oiled, and running. My Novo is set to run about 200 RPM and one fellow just sat down and watched it. He just couldn't believe the thing wasn't going to stop.

Dave Housman took off with my Farmall Regular like someone was after him with a torch and found that the steering doesn't work when the gear falls off the shaft. He got control of the thing though and after some searching found the small gear in the grass and he fastened it solidly this time.

Saturday night when I stopped by to check on how things were going, Skip and Al were trying to start my 7 HP Economy (Remember Skip, anything can be fixed.)

Seven A.M. Sunday found me splitting wood for the hungry steam engines. Skip looked like he needed a vacation instead of being on one. By the time people started coming in the gate we had most of the gas engines going, the two Port Hurons had steam up, and were hoping for lots of people (about 800). In they came! One man stopped who lived in Vermont near where our 1904 Gray and Sons thresher was built. He said ours was one of the better shows he had been to.

We threshed with Escanaba Machine Company's 10-20 Titan first and then with Skip's Port Huron. More people came in. By early afternoon we had people standing all over looking at the tractors and gas engines. Everyone loved Dennis Takalo's Port Huron portable, especially the children who pulled the cord on the whistle. More people came in!

About 3:00 the clouds began to get heavier and it appeared that the rain we so dreaded would appear. It did, about 4 P.M. Everyone worked like beavers to get the precious equipment inside. It rained harder; the tractors were run in. It rained harder. We hauled engines. It rained harder. Al Strahl was hit by the flying crank while starting my Farmall Regular. It poured down. We hauled more engines. We were soaked. Finally everything was inside. Our first show was over!