722 East End Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602
Although Delaware is a small state, it is proud of its agricultural heritage. The Delaware State Fair is held annually at Harrington, the last week of July. The Fairground boasts of a large modern grandstand and race track, and a large midway.
The display of farm machinery is representative of most all the major lines, as well as many short lines, and would do credit to a state many times the size of Delaware.
An additional attraction in more recent years is the 'Delaware Antique Machinery Show' held in conjunction with the fair, the last two days, being Friday and Saturday.
Friday has long been 'Governor's Day' at the fair. When the Pennsylvania Railroad ran passenger trains, the Governor and his cabinet were provided with a special car to bring them from the capital at Dover to the fairground, where they received a 21 gun salute; but with the passing of the passenger trains, the Governor and party now arrive by auto caravan, with his bodyguard, which consists of Delaware State Police.
The antique show this year was the largest to date. Lloyd Pahlman's 7x9 Frick steamer was belted to Bryant Young's 28' Case thresher. Edwin F. Evans, who owns a fine 9% x 10 Frick and is a spark plug of this show, was present with his 6 HP Capital gasoline engine (made in Wrightsville, Pa.) and belted to the small handfed Ellis Keystone thresher. A stone buhr mill was grinding cornmeal, and a Hench & Drumgold shingle saw was busy sawing cedar shingles.
John Porter had a very old gasoline engine with large flywheels; the piston is 14' long, with a steam engine type governor. It was made before 1900 by White & Middleton Company of Baltimore, Maryland, and this was the forerunner of the very famous Witte engine. This old veteran was chugging peacefully most of the day.
An old I.H.C. Mogul was doing its best on the stone crusher with its one lung.
Walter Meszick, a pillar of the Fair Ground Association, and also a large John Deere dealer at Harrington, was present with his giant Aultman Taylor 30-60 tractor elbowing its way through the crowd.
Getz Bros, from Pennsylvania and their well-known Calliope were present, with Amos Rutt at the keyboard playing tunes of yesterday to conform to the era of the show.
The Grand Marshall was John Short who supervised the show, and everything moved with dispatch.
In the afternoon of July 30, word was passing through the crowd that Governor Sherman Tribbetts had arrived, and soon he was seen with his police bodyguard passing through the antique display of machines. With him was Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, Martin Isaacs. Both the Governor and the Secretary took their turn in the operation of these veteran machines. I noticed the Governor operating Walter Meszick's 30-60 Aultman-Taylor. Next he mounted the 7 x 9 Frick Steam Engine, all the while asking questions.
After he had seen each phase of the antique machines operate, the Governor with his Secretary of Agriculture moved toward the headquarters tent, where I was located with the microphone to announce the show activities. Mr. John Short introduced me to Secretary Isaacs, whom I in turn introduced to the crowd. Secretary Isaacs then introduced Governor Tribbetts who told us that he had with him a bill ready for signing to grant $1,200,000 to build a State Museum to display and preserve this wonderful antique equipment.
He then sat down at the table to sign this historic bill, while he was surrounded by state legislators, members of his cabinet, and antique lovers, all of whom seemed well pleased. I then understood the meaning of the large badge which was worn all day by Mr. Edwin F. Evans, which said simply 'I Luv the Guv', and I am sure this was the general feeling of the crowd assembled.
After the signing, Governor Tribbetts invited all of us who had participated in the show, along with all the members of his party, to have dinner with him in the Delaware Grange pavilion. The food was a real threshermen's meal, and did justice to the occasion.
It is of interest to note here that on September 11, last; Mr. Walter Meszick, the aforementioned John Deere dealer, opened his own museum at his place of business at Harrington. He said 30 years ago he purchased a Waterloo Boy tractor, and at that time stated that he would later build a museum around it. His dream is now fulfilled.