3746 Winter Garden Road, Orlando, Florida 32805
FIRST: I request that the reader of this screed if other than the Rev. Elmer bring same to the Reverend's notice, for the triple reason that (a) I knew him 'back in the days when', (b) it may add to his good cheer to know that he has a consistent rooter in this far-off land, and (c) it is in the nature of an Official Report on an Engine Meet.
On February 8th & 9th, 1969, the FLORIDA AMERICAN ROYAL GAS AND STEAM ENGINE ROUNDUP held its second annual meet at the Sarasota-Bradenton Speedway. Matching my last years performance, I was again lost before I found it. The Speedway is 3 miles south of Bradenton, but the county commissioners (or the road authorities) won't allow any signs. But we found it!
As I expected, it was much improved over last year. Assembled there was the largest collection of portable and stationary gas engines I ever saw, in their original paint colors (renewed), most of them running, and running well.
Many other items of interest were there, including a sugar-cane mill making molasses while you watched. It was for sale, and is called 'Ribbon Cane Molasses' here.
It may be because I am pro-steam that I found the steam exhibit the most interesting. I nominate as the best exhibit our Philip Loudon's 4-inch scale Russell Traction Engine and his Woods Bros Thresher of the same scale. The thresher's wind-stacker had not yet been added, and the machine's covering was not in place, but this gave one a perfect view of its remarkable straw handling arrangement.
But the self-feeder was completed, the belt guide was in place, and the cylinder was turning. It was working perfectly. This engine and thresher, photographed with nothing adjacent to indicate the actual size, is so perfectly made that one would think he was viewing a photo of the original machine. A perfect example of expert machine work, made WITHOUT blueprints! The quadruple bends on the straw rack cranks are something to write home about!
Perhaps it is well to mention here that Philip had his 4-inch scale Russell out last July 4th hauling neighborhood children, in his 4-inch scale 4-seated rubber tired specially designed passenger wagon, on the streets in his home section of Orlando.
Ray Schisler, of Clearwater, Florida, had a very interesting and well made engine of his own design - not a copy of one of the engines we knew 'back in the good old days' but a highly practical machine, with everything in proportion. It had a 5 hp vertical boiler, with an appropriately sized engine mounted horizontally ahead of the boiler, and a water tank in front, Ray said he could travel along with an I.H.C. at a dog trot (and I submit that the dog would have to trot fast).
I'm going to talk to Ray about a picture project, and, if he agrees, maybe I'll have some photos Elmer will consider good enough for him to publish. (I'm not trying to butter you up, Elmer, I concede they'll have to be good to make the grade!)
In conclusion: A number of photos are enclosed, with a typed description attached to the back of each.
And now, Cheerio! See you next year at the ROYAL AMERICAN GAS AND STEAM ENGINE ROUND UP at Braden-ton!