Young People's Page

Content Tools

Hyattstown, Box 144-D,R. F. D., Ijamsville, Maryland 21 754

Torque Power,hive Steam Models

By the time most of you receive this issue it will be Christmas. I certainly hope that all of you are able to spend this time with your loved ones.

I attended the Shenandoah Valley Steam and Gas Engine Association Show and the Eastern Shore Threshermen's and Collector's Association Show.

At the Shenandoah Steam Show, I operated my old time foundry with the help of Steven Love, one of our young people. Steven's father, Mr. Robert Love, was there operating a gas engine which he and Steven has restored this past Spring. I would like to thank Mr. Bill Hall for hauling my foundry equipment to the show. The men like Bill Hall, who provide the use of their trucks for hauling engines and machinery, deserve a great deal of credit for their efforts. Without their help in hauling engines, no club could put on much of a show. The men and women who put on this show did an excellent job of it. Everyone missed our regular announcer, Mr. Charles Hope, who was unable to attend the show. A good announcer can make a show much more interesting to the people who attend.

To be a good announcer you must have a good voice and some knowledge about the relics on display. To many of the older engineers it is boring to hear the announcer repeat so many times the history of these relics, but this is intended for the visitors which makes it more interesting to them. I would like to see some younger people take an interest in announcing at these shows.

While at this show I met another young engineer, Robe Lefever of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Robe owns one steam traction engine, 12 gas tractors and 55 gas engines. He has been collecting for five years and is a credit to any show.

At the show our regular blacksmith was unable to make it; so, at the last minute, a replacement was called in, Mr. Louis Gillinger of Martinsburg, West Virginia. He had never blacksmithed at a show before but was the best I have ever seen. He was given a pile of old tools to re-work and when finished they all looked like new. Mr. Gillinger was assisted by his teenage grandson who was learning about the art. This is something I like to see as our young people are the only hope we have to preserve the old arts.

I am a great believer and supporter of what our shows are doing today. They are, for a few days each year, going back in time and preserving the ways of life of the steam era. These steam engines and other relics were the tools of the 'Iron Men' that built a nation out of a wilderness. The many shows across the country (more than 100 listed in this magazine each year) are preserving not only the relics of the past but the ways of life that they represent. To preserve only the relics of the past is a poor second best to actually reliving the past, even if only for a few days each year. This is the ultimate in historical preservation. The ways of the past, the arts, the skills, the machines and tools are all being preserved at the same time. This is a task that requires thousands of people all across the country working together to preserve a part of the past. It also requires that we look to our younger people in order to continue. It is said that the hand that rocks the cradle can rule the world. If we are really interested in preserving this part of American History, then, we must devote some of our time to our young people. The Eastern Shore Steam Show is a fine example of a show that is youth oriented.

This year I and several other young engineers ran the engines. I would like to thank Jim Layton for allowing me to operate his Frick engine. At this show the young people help in restoring the engines and in doing so learn something about the skills that were required to build them. In order to keep these engines running for future generations, it will be necessary to rebuild them from time to time which will no longer make the engine original. But, how many engines are original down to every last nut and bolt? Many engines were altered at the factory to suit the owner's needs or by the owner himself. They were often re-boilered and re-built many times during their own age. It seems to be a tradition among steam engineers to keep their engines going year after year. To keep these engines going for future generations is in keeping with the original tradition of the machine and the men who operated them which is the most important thing to do. The young people at the Eastern Shore Show will keep alive this and many other traditions.

We had a large crowd attend the show with some people from as far away as New York, Connecticut, North Carolina and Florida. My friends, John Ellingsen and Floyd Farmer, were there operating traction engines. John is attending Marine Engineering School now and I certainly wish him the best in his studies. We had ten steam traction engines on display along with the gas tractors, gas engines, stationary steam engines, and one freelance job called Tom's Tinker Toy which was very nice. New additions to the show were a teter-totter and electric lighting of the show grounds. There was a 10 hp. stationary engine owned by a young engineer, whose name has slipped my memory, that was very nice to see in operation.

The Eastern Shore Threshermen are always adding to and improving their show. If you can, make sure that you attend next year's show as you could never find a more friendly show to visit.

I was glad to meet many of my readers and supporters of the Young People's Page at these two shows. I only wish I could have attended more shows than I did, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I hope that many of the shows across the country will make plans this winter to include as many young people as they can in the operation of next summer's shows. This is the best investment in the future of the hobby that you can make.

Well, that's all for now.