Vintage Industrial Machinery Show, Part 1

A report on the September 2002 vintage industrial machinery show hosted by the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association.

| December 2002

Preparations for the 2002 Connecticut Antique Machinery Association's Fall Festival, held Sept. 28 and 29 near the village of Kent, went on in a steady rain, but opening day brought back the sunshine, which brought in the crowds. An estimated 300 exhibitors and more than 10,000 show-goers streamed into the park-like show grounds for what one long-time participant, Ed Jones of Williamstown, Mass., aptly describes as 'a good, old Yankee get-together.'

The focus of the gathering, and of the association that sponsors it, is on vintage industrial machinery that reflects Connecticut history. John Pawloski, president of the association, which is called 'CAMA' for short, says, 'In Connecticut, we were more of an industrial state, and the exhibits reflect that. Today, only a few working farms remain.'

To be shown at the festival, equipment must date to before 1950; to be located permanently on the grounds, it must be restored, too. Many large pieces have been installed there. Some are owned by the association itself, through purchase or donation; others are privately owned by individual members.

One of the group's founders, Bob Hungerford of Canaan, CT, says CAMA was formed in 1984 by 22 collectors, and has grown rapidly since the late 1990s.

According to John, there are more than 900 members now, most of whom live in or near New England.

Bob says they have tried to pull together a representative example of historic machines, which are housed in permanent buildings on the grounds. 'The easy part is saving them,' he notes. 'The hard part is taking them down, moving them and setting them up again.'