Reunion Reports


Three generations

Pictured left to right President Gordon E. Smith, son John and Gordon's Dad, Harry Smith of Orillia. Three generations taken on the President's 14 hp Waterloo at the Reunion at Milton.

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'A huge success' was the President's remarks of the 2nd Annual Reunion of the Ontario Steam and Antique Preserver's Association.

The entertaining 3 day show was presented for around 25,000 visitors at Milton Fair Grounds over Labor Day week-end.

The crowd started to form early Friday morning, when the last of the rumbling steam engines of yesteryear entered the grounds. The numbers swelled in the afternoon to see the antique display and the demonstration of sawing, threshing and other machinery in action, along with the antique cars.

Friday evening Bill Long of Hamilton CHCH-TV and his variety group put on a show in front of the grandstand, which had to be cut short due to showers.

Saturday morning the grounds were investigated by many more; thousands watched the noon-hour parade of steam engines, tractors and horses led by the Milton Girls Kilty band, along the main street. On entering the grounds all the other pieces of equipment joined in, making the parade at least one hour long past the grandstand. After the parade the Reunion was officially opened by the Honorable Mr. William Stewart, Minister of Agriculture, who was ahead of the parade in an open Antique car, owned and driven by Fred Thompson. He was accompanied by the Club President, Gordon E. Smith, Orillia, and Mayor Childs of Milton.

In the afternoon the peak of attendance invaded the grounds to study the machines and view an entertaining program as nearly 100 pieces of machinery went through their paces.

An old time and modern dance was held in the Arena Saturday night, with music provided by Bill Long and his Jamboree Band.

Although nothing except the antique cars were in action on Sunday, a couple of thousand visitors roamed the grounds to see the iron monsters and take pictures.

By 8 A.M. on Monday the grounds were starting to fill up again and by mid-afternoon an estimated 12,000 were in attendance.

Among the relics were, the first horse drawn grader ever used in Esquesing township, the first gas driven grader used by the County of Halton, a locomotive built by Johnson and Holt, Burford, which took passengers for rides, 28 steam engines, 25 gas tractors, 10 gas engines, 4 separators, including an old time hand fed mill, a saw mill, 4 baker fans, hammer mill and cutting box in action. There was also a very interesting display of steam model engines of all types in action. One big attraction of the show, which added a carnival touch, was the band organ powered by a portable steam engine, owned and operated by Captain Lennerd of St. Catherines. There was also a large display of Farm antique equipment, besides a hall full of smaller articles. For the young fry there were pony rides, a double-decker bus from Britain.

Vince Mount ford was the Master of Ceremonies, and also provided an entertainment program in front of the grandstand for the three days.

There were prizes for the oldest thresher on the grounds each day, and for the one who came the farthest. Mr. Stapley, of Stirling, 83, won the oldest thresher on Saturday and Mr. Robert Weir, 95, Schombery was the oldest thresher present on Monday. Mrs. E. Corney of Ryde-Isle of Wight, England was the one who came the farthest distance.

A trophy, donated by Allen Byers, Atherley for the best female driver of a steam engine, was presented to Heather Devlin, 14 of Ottawa; Hugh Clark of Hagersville presented his trophy for the best restored gas tractor to Bob Clark of Milton and Louie Holt presented the Johnson Holt trophy for the best restored steam engine to Francis Fox, Pickering.

Many thanks are extended by our executive to the Milton Boy Scouts, Coachman Club, St. John's Ambulance, local police and Ontario Provincial Police, all who helped to make the mammoth show a success.



August 4 - 5, 1962, 15,000 Attending

It was like leafing through the pages of early American a attending the 8th Annual Richland County Steam Threshers, located on the spacious farm of that Christian gentleman, Mr. Earl Logan, farmer, blacksmith and old-time thesher, near Mansfield, Ohio.

It was a change for us leaving the western Ohio stronghold of Baker, Gaar-Scott, Case and Port Huron engines and entering into that strange new territory where the great Aultman-Taylor steam traction engine is king of steam reciprocation. At least looking over the old-time 12 H.P. Aultman-Taylor of host Earl Logan's led one to believe the A.-T. could account for itself in the well-developed countryside of Richland County throughout the years when America was growing, quite as well as the best of some 30 other engines all huffing and puffing over hill and dale.

Reminded one of the good old days out on Uncle John's farm - reaching for straight-edge and shaving soap to suddenly feel old Bossy's long tongue reaching across the line fence to lick off the chin lather fasten a sleepy-eyed traveler could brush it on.

But, once the chin was 'beautified' and a good breakfast o' bacon, eggs, no flannel cakes were stuck under the ribs - to help stoke the fires till noon - there was plenty in store from one and to there of the Richland County Threshers ground to keep any two-legged man busy, from morn till night.

As far as eye could scan across the huge fields and woods on the Earl Logan farm, there were engines, engines and still more - you guessed it -engines popping off, barking their stacks, blowing their whistles and/or pulling for their very lives on the three fans all placed at strategic spots throughout the grounds,

'Whenever we have men fetch in their engines here at Richland County, we aim to see that everyone is doing something - for after all that's why they bring them, and that's why people come', explained secretary of Richland County Threshers, John Boner, that his red-and-white polka-dot cap.

Besides the usual roster of 'Old Smokiest' which always read like a Threshermen's Who's Who of America-Advance Rumely, Peerless, Greyhound, Frick, Keck-Gonnerman, Russell, Reeves, Minneapolis and others-some of the outstanding steam engines were the quaint-looking old 10 H. P. Huber owned by H. A. Lenner of Carey, Ohio, a Buffalo-Springfield steam roller, owned by George and Lewis Edinger of Urbana, Ohio, and the ancient 13 H. P. Gaar-Scott fired by 78 year old Karl Newton of Dover, Ohio - the oldest engineer on the grounds.

'In addition to our regular list of engines and engineers and officers who have worked so tirelessly to make this show a success, I want to thank Hugh Hartzell of Union City, Indiana for bringing his mighty 21-75 Baker engine and Jake Heidi of Sandusky, Ohio, who brought his 9 HP Case which Lee Gaeke of Bucyrus fired and throttled on the belt,' pointed out secretary, John Boner.

Not only could the Richland County Threshers Reunion be rightly called a 'steam engine Heaven' of reciprocating pistons, barking stacks and popping safety valves, but it also exhibited plenty of 'Sparks from Old Plugs ' in the way of early American farm gas tractors and engines long passed from the scene of American agriculture, Aultman Taylors, Bakers, Rumelys, Averys, Eagles, Cases no, not the steam engines, but that evolutionary stage of American agricultural mechanization known as the advent of the internal-combustion tractor which began experimentation to replace coal and steam on the farms throughout America.

Then there was the array of stationary gas engines the kind you used to like hear echoing out over fields and valleys when Uncle John was pumping water and doing his evening chores, long, long ago.

The big wind and rainstorm which came the night of August 4th did not dampen spirits, but it did lay the dust of the day before. While movies were shown on the ground floor of the big bank barn, the strains of 'Walk Your Lady' wafted to the rhythm of Dancing feet on the big wooden floor overhead.

Next morning, Sunday, August 5th, religious services began the day's program, and thousands streamed over the big Logan farm to witness the afternoon pageantry of engines threshing, pulling fans and parading while Stanley Steamers, Model T Fords, old-time school busses and other early American gas jitneys drove hither and thither among the crowds.

It was my privilege to make a recording of the venerable gentleman farm host, Earl Logan, explaining some of the early American tools in his old farm blacksmith shop. Old bits and augers, barn-jacks, even an ancient adjustable wood drill were lined up on the old blacksmith tables. One unusual piece of equipment was a crude homemade electric welder which the self-sufficient Mr. Logan had made out of an old box and some scrap wiring. 'I had to go along with the times, so I just made my own electric welder in those days,' explained Logan. 'I can't thank the Lord Jesus Christ enough for all He's done for me,' said he, surveying his wonderful and spacious American farm with engines smoking all over the place.

Here was the typical farmstead that fashioned out of virgin soil and forest of our land by the outstanding Christian gentlemen that have made America great.

'Our show has outgrown the Logan farm,' said Boner -'Next year we plan to hold our Reunion at the Fairgrounds.'

JOE FAHNESTOCK, Union City, Indiana

The Early American Steam Engine and Old Equipment Society of Southern York County, Pennsylvania, celebrated their 1962 'STEAM-O-RAMA' by giving a banquet October 13th in the Winters town Volunteer Fire Department Fire House, Winterstown, Pa.

Over 200 friendly folks attended, representing the National Threshers Association, The Williams Grove Steam Engine Association, The Maryland Steam Historical Society, The Early American Steam Engine and Old Equipment Society, The Steam Automobile Club of America, The National Railway Historical Society, and the 'Steam Oafs Brotherhood' (SOB's).

After getting the inner-man taken care of with the Turkey dinner, the group enjoyed the fine program of speeches and songs and everyone called the banquet a success.

With 1962 now history, the Early American group are quite busy preparing for the 1963 'Steam-O-Rama' which promises to be better if not larger than 1962. We wish them success.

The photo shows only a small portion of the attendance as it was impossible to get a view showing the whole group due to lack of space.