Kauffman display

Content Tools

6101 Harmony Road, Preston, Maryland 21655

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of John S. Kauffman's birth and the 25th anniversary of his death, members of his family displayed their private collection of his works at the Eastern Shore Thresher men & Collectors Association Show in August. Four of his children and three grandchildren attended the show with a wonderful display of his models and paintings. They had never thought of displaying any of his works, some of them hadn't even been to a steam show before. Mr. Kauffman was a well known artist who striped a number of steam engines which were restored in the 1950s and 1960s. He is also known for designing the cover of the Iron Men Album. Among the artwork exhibited at the show was the original Iron Men Album sign he painted for Rev. Elmer Ritzman, founder of the magazine.

The models displayed consisted of a Frick traction engine and a C. Aultman Company Star engine, also wooden models of a Huber steam engine, American thresher and Ohio Hay Press. They even demonstrated baling straw with the miniature hay press.

Kauffman display at Eastern Shore Threshermen Show includes the original Iron Men Album sign painted for Rev. Elmer Ritzman.

This was the first time the Kauffman family has exhibited their collection at any show. A question to the Iron Men Album last January asking about the initials 'J.S.K.' on the cover of the magazine and the response prompted the family to bring out the display for public viewing.

One of his grandchildren said they always appreciated Mr. Kauffman's work because he was their grandfather, but seeing the public's response gave them a whole new appreciation for his talents.

Mr. Kauffman was born October 5, 1897 and lived in the Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, area where he and his wife raised 14 children. He operated a sawmill at one time and was a thresherman. But he is best known for his model making, striping ability and beautiful paintings of steam engines, threshing scenes and country life. He passed away August 8, 1972 leaving a legacy his family can be proud of.

He built many working models of steam engines and related equipment, some of which he displayed at shows in the 1960s. He was commissioned by the Frick Company to build a model Frick steam engine. It was unveiled and put on display at their Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, headquarters in 1969.

The wooden Huber engine, thresher and hay press displayed were more than 70 years old and were built as toys for his children. It is hard to believe that they survived in such excellent condition after all these years. All the models are striped in full, right down to the tiniest detail.

Members of the Kauffman family attending were children Lorraine Ginder, Jay Kauffman, Mae Cooper; son-in-law Harry Cooper; and grandchildren Pat Hamilton, Todd Kauffman and Ruby Bollinger. They enjoyed talking to the many people who knew John Kauffman and also the many people who were interested in learning about him. They planned to attend some of the other shows and being back at the Eastern Shore Threshermen Show next year which will be August 7, 8, 9, 1998.

We thank the family for sharing their collection and hope their experience will spark a new interest among them attending steam engine shows.