BUILDING A MUSEUM PROJECT

Lancaster steam pump

Lancaster steam pump, made in 1880s, at R & T Museum.

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This article, based on the museum project of Rough and Tumble Engineers at Kinzers, Pennsylvania, is intended as an aid to all organizations that either have museums or are considering starting them.

The collection, preservation and restoration of artifacts of rural technology are really only in their early stages. Many groups have items which are now highly valuable, but which may be lost for all practical purposes, due to unintended neglect, or lack of knowledge about functions or value of the objects.

Stemgas Publishing Company will act as a clearinghouse for information and exchange of ideas.

Everett Young faces a ponderous assignment developing the present museum of the Rough and Tumble Engineers into a display that makes the most of the thousands of engines, implements and other farm mementos of bygone times which are housed on the grounds at Kinzers, Pennsylvania.

Son of Arthur S. Young, who founded R & T, Everett has been named permanent curator by the board of directors. He grew up with the business of his father, selling and repairing Frick steam traction engines, and with R & T from the time it started in 1947.

The collection, Everett recalls, started with 'things my father had bought during the World War II period, when they were scrapping everything. Whenever he found an engine that was to be sold, he bought it. Rev. Ritzman (founder of Iron-Men Album) and others were 'scouts.''

The pieces were moved from the Young property across the road to the R & T tract after Arthur's death in December, 1955. Today the observer who looks through the buildings and is shown the engines and other items is immediately impressed with the vast number and the need to classify, mark, and display so that the people who visit, whether they know anything about farming or not, can understand what the museum is all about.

'We started in one building,' Everett recalls, 'where the Corliss engines are now, our main steam building. People started bringing everything from hand tools to old kitchen equipment, washing machines, stoves anything that had to do with the early age. Members bought the steel and put it up themselves.'

Over the years, other buildings have been erected. The Groffdale Hobby Group built one; A. D. Mast put up one with Guy Stauffer, to house their own gas engines. Another project was drilling of a well to supply fresh running water; a 'water smeller' found the spot.

Biggest engine on the site is a Watts-Campbell Corliss which came from a paperboard factory in Whitehall, Maryland; it runs at 50 RPM and has a 4 foot stroke. Another Corliss was donated by Swarthmore College.

There are probably 200 engines of various kinds stationary steam or gas, steam traction, or tractors. Steam traction, to name a few, include Avery, Frick, Peerless-Geiser, Buffalo-Springfield, Farqhuar, Nichols & Shepard, Eagle, Case, Minneapolis, John Deere, International Harvester, John Deere, Plymouth, Avery, Fordson, Huber and Baker.

Biggest engine at Rough & Tumble Museum Watts-Campbell Corliss; runs at 50 RPM; has an 18-inch bore, with 48-inch stroke; flywheel is 12 feet in diameter with 32-inch wide face.

Some are owned by R & T; others are owned by members who store them on the grounds.

There are wagons of many shapes and sizes, for many uses. The prize is a Conestoga wagon, of the famous type that originated in Lancaster County long ago. This wagon was purchased by a R & T member and donated by him to the organization. This is one of a kind, since it is original and complete with all tools, harness, bells and even the hobbles used to keep the horses from running away.

Also on hand are a portable sawmill, balers, threshers, ensilage cutter, logging wheels, a shingle mill, a sleigh, a one-horse bobsled, and all sorts of other things large and small. An agricultural historian would go absolutely gaga going through them all.

Some cataloging was started years ago; there are labels on a small number of pieces. The Smithsonian Institution sent a crew up from Washington during a rally, to shoot part of a film on energy, using R & T material.

A five-year planning committee was formed under the late Amos Stauffer, when he was president. The committee is to plan and develop, bringing in new ideas. Everett and his aides have plenty of equipment to work withand plenty of work to do.