Northeast Steam & Gas Association

Nichols & Shepard

25-85 Nichols & Shepard owned by Graham Sellers, at the LaGrange, Indiana Show.

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R.R. #13, Box 209 Brazil, Indiana 47834

One of the many interesting aspects of the steam hobby is the locations of different steam shows around the country. I work swing shift for an electric utility and can only attend shows on certain weekends. As a result of this I spend a considerable amount of time consulting my atlas and steam show guide. I particularly enjoy attending a show I have never been to and seeing different engines. The 'new' show I attended this year was the Northeast Steam and Gas Association Show at LaGrange, Indiana.

The LaGrange Show was well worth the 225 miles (one way) I drove to get there. The first stop after arriving was at the Cockshutt tent, which was the feature tractor at the show. The display not only had Cockshutts but many Co-Op and Blackhawk tractors also. I saw many different tractors I had not seen before.

The Cockshutt Company was broken in 1959 by 'corporate raiders' who specialized in stripping companies by selling off different divisions for their cash value. This allowed White Equipment in 1961 to claim credit for a brand new self-propelled combine into whose design they had almost no input.

Even though you may prefer an Allis Chalmers or a John Deere, I believe everyone should show support by patronizing vendors who are connected with the feature equipment. I hope the Cockshutt people were satisfied with the results as you could see they had put a lot of effort into their displays and equipment. My older half-brother and his wife drove 650 miles from near Kansas City, Missouri, to attend this show mainly to see the 'Gathering of the Red.'

After purchasing a new Cockshutt hat, I headed to the steam area. I was pleasantly surprised to find the feature engine of the show was a 20 HP Harrison Jumbo (as I own a 17 HP Jumbo myself). That afternoon I tracked down the owner of the Jumbo, Bob Laughlin. Bob was surprised to learn that there was another Jumbo in the state of Indiana. Bob who is on the show's board of directors is a spry 80-year old. His Jumbo is serial #2344, 20 HP with an 8 x 11 cylinder which develops 65 brake HP. The engine cost $3500.00 in 1928 with rocker grates costing $15.00 additional.

Bob bought his Jumbo out of Illinois, sight unseen, after spotting it in a Prairie Farmer ad several years ago. Bob is one of the few people who can drive his engine to the show. He has bands made to fit on his wheels so he can drive on the blacktop roads, two miles to the show. Besides Bob's Jumbo engine there were eight other full size engines: 25 HP Advance Rumely, 20 HP Advance Rumely, 25-75 M Rumely, 25-85 Nichols & Shepard, 24 HP Minneapolis, 20 HP Sawyer Massey, 50 HP Case, and a Buffalo Springfield roller.

The model engines were represented by two Advance Rumely models. One was a scale of a 20 HP Advance Rumely. The other was a scale of a 22 HP Advance Rumely, which was built from scratch and is owned by Bill and Butch Vollmar. Bill kept his engine busy pulling a model sawmill which he also built.

The largest engine on the grounds was a 125 HP stationary engine used to power the sawmill. One event I really look forward to is steam plowing. The engines at LaGrange certainly gave a good show of pulling the eight-bottom plow until Mother Nature put a stop to it with a terrific downpour Saturday afternoon. Bob Laughlin reported that his 20 HP Jumbo can more than hold its own on the plow. He feels that the larger diameter wheels on the Jumbo make the plow pull somewhat easier. Many of the area Amish attended the show and were most friendly to their 'worldy' counterparts.

My wife and I appreciated that the flea market was mostly antique related and had no 'junk.' I hope you can find time to attend the 1995 Northeast Steam and Gas Association Show at LaGrange, Indiana, August 10-13, which will feature Gaar-Scott and Company.