The twentieth annual Reunion of the NATIONAL THRESHERS ASSOCIATION, INC. was held Thursday through Sunday, June 25 -28 1964, at the Williams County Fairgrounds, Montpelier, Ohio, and lived up to its reputation as a 'REUNION where GOOD ENGINEERS give GOOD ENGINES a GOOD WORKOUT.' Besides the miniature models, some fifty large and small engines and gas tractors were exhibited and demonstrated.
The most unusual feature of this year's event was the amount of threshing of winter barley which was done, even on the opening day. John Limmer, the Ohio director, was in charge of the threshing, and assisted by his grandson, Frank Johnson. Even the president of the Old Time Threshers and Sawmill operators, Jim Whitbey, lent a hand in loading and getting the barley from the Blaker farm to the grounds. Several different engines were belted up to the separator during the four days, to thresh 161 bushels of grain.
The NTA-TNT engine was used effectively on both the separator and the NTA saw-mill. Sawing was done by George Searson of Waterford, Ontario, and his son Harley and Earl Newberry.
Percy Sherman Michigan Director and others participated in some 'slow racing', and several engineers tried their skill at balancing on the teeter-totter. A spectacular event occurred Friday when four engines simultaneously climbed the big incline and came to rest at the summit with all front wheels touching and the engines forming a four-pointed star.
On the Prony brake, a device for measuring horse power which was used in the A. D. Baker works at Swanton and presented to the NTA by Mr. Baker before his death, a 20-60 HP Reeves cross-Compound, owned by Ralph Wallace of Carleton, Michigan, developed 116 HP, with 135 lbs working pressure, to top many others belted to the brake. Incidentally, LeRoy Blaker, president of the NTA, says that over a period of some 18 years attending scores and scores of Reunions or steam shows, this is the FIRST REEVES COMPOUND he has seen anywhere.
Four Baker Fans were in use at this year's Reunion, providing considerable interest in this event now so common a feature at steam shows, but again a feature pioneered by the NTA. The NTA-TNT engine turned a Baker Fan 500 RPM and was capable of doing considerably more. At this RPM and running fully compound, it had only 2 lbs. back pressure in the exhaust pipe. With the half-inch auxiliary valve open, using live steam in the low pressure cylinder, the back pressure was four pounds doing the same amount of work.
Amos Rixmann supervised a Tug of War between John Holp's 20 HP Reeves Compound, which resulted in a draw, besides providing a spectacle for the crowded grandstand.
Four parades were staged with the Indiana director Harold Gay doing a competent job at the microphone, with the able assistance of Dan Heidl and the PA announcer George Kuehne and his Short Wave Radio Club of Bryan. Saturday night was set aside as YOUTH NIGHT, and under the supervision of the ' YOUTH COMMITTEE Dean Saunders, Lloyd Kramer and John Holp, the program that evening revealed just how many fine young engineers we have in the association. Among those participating in the parade and other activities that night were John Holp, Jr. now eight years old but already an old hand in the parades, Frank Johnson, Harley Searson, William Raisch, Harold Parish, Steve Wolfarth, Philip Hoffer, Steve Heidl, Carlton Wallace, Jr., the Kramer boys. Preceding the Saturday YOUTH PARADE was a concert by the famous Bud Widmer RUBE BAND of Defiance, long a highlight of the NTA programs. The Kramer calliope furnished music all during the Reunion.
The usual fine programs for the ladies given under the direction of The National Thresherwomen (TNT) were held this year in Floral Hall and were followed by Get-Acquainted Teas, served to an unusually large number. The Hobby Lobby was again a point of interest.
An inspiring religious service was held in the grandstand Sunday morning under the leadership of Robert Price of Logansport, Indiana, chaplain of the Miami Valley Steam Association. Rev. Elmer Ritzman, NTA Chaplain, gave in his usual convincing manner a sermon on 'The Courage of Your Convictions' and Guy Laubis of Kenton, Ohio, sang 'The Old Rugged Cross' and 'The Christ of the Cross', accompanied by Lucile Blaker on a portable Estey organ. The Glanz Music Co. of Bryan provided other music on an electronic organ.
The annual meeting and Memorial service was held Thursday evening. Election of officers resulted in the following: President, Leroy Blaker; vice-president, Earnest Hoffer; Chaplain, Elmer Ritzman; secretary-treasurer, Lucile Blaker ; Directors: OHIO, John Limmer; INDIANA, Harold Gay; MICHIGAN, Percy Sherman; IOWA, Peter B u c h e r ; ILLINOIS, Wilbur Collins; PENNSYLVANIA, Elmer Schaefer; WISCONSIN, Clarence Mirk; MARYLAND and the D of C, Frank McGuffin; KENTUCKY, Jack Tucker; NEW YORK, Lynn Lang-worthy, ONTARIO, George Searson. TRUSTEES: Ralph Vincent, Homer Holp, Dean Saunders. It was announced that the 21st NTA Reunion would be at the same place the last week-end in June. The excursion to Ford Museum and Greenfield Village was cancelled, lacking seven of the required quota. The excursion may be held next year, pending discussion and enlarged plans.
Extra stress was laid on boiler safety at this year's Reunion. The NTA pioneered in requiring the display of test certificates on each engine.
We wish to extend our thanks to the host of people who worked hard to make the 1964 NTA Reunion the success it was and to the Montpelier LEADER ENTERPRISE for the FREE Pictorial.