Connecticut Antique Machinery Association More Than a Club

The Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, or CAMA, is committed to building a permanent display

| June 2011

  • The Cream Hill Agricultural School
    The Cream Hill Agricultural School, which operated from 1845-69, was surrounded by vintage cars during the 26th annual CAMA Fall Festival in 2010.
  • CAMA member Pat Moran starting the Simplicity engine that powers the log saw
    CAMA member Pat Moran starting the Simplicity engine that powers the log saw.
  • Originally built as a steam engine, this 10 hp one-cylinder engine was converted to run on well gas
    Originally built as a steam engine, this 10 hp one-cylinder engine was converted to run on well gas by A.C. Thomas in the early 1900s. So-called “half-breed” engines eliminated delays caused by the amount of time it took to get steam engines up and running. This display (housed in an authentic pump house salvaged from the woods) re-creates actual field use, when there was no electricity at remote oil field sites.
  • Doug DeCosta’s fully restored Centaur garden tractor
    Doug DeCosta’s fully restored Centaur garden tractor with a 5 hp New Way gas engine was originally used on a 12-acre orchard.
  • CAMA member Art Downs splitting wood
    CAMA member Art Downs splitting wood.
  • This Robinson grist mill was built by Munson Bros., Utica, N.Y., in 1898
    This Robinson grist mill was built by Munson Bros., Utica, N.Y., in 1898. The escutcheon-type mill – with steel plates moving in opposite directions – grinds up to 3,000 pounds per hour at full capacity. The 2,000-pound mill was powered by a 1954 Wisconsin 4-cylinder engine.
  • Engine No. 5, the heart of an operating narrow-gauge steam railroad at CAMA
    Engine No. 5, the heart of an operating narrow-gauge steam railroad at CAMA. Built in 1925 for Hawaii Railway Co., the engine was used in Hawaii until the late 1940s. Long-range plans call for the train to serve the association’s lower parking lot. CAMA purchased the engine late last year but a fund drive to repay the loan continues.
  • Close-up look at the belt-driven oiler on Al’s Otto
    Close-up look at the belt-driven oiler on Al’s Otto.
  • 3-1/2 hp Otto was built in 1895
    Al Provenzano’s 3-1/2 hp Otto was built in 1895. It is one of two of that model known to exist.
  • 3-1/2 hp Otto

  • Al oiling his 3-1/2 hp Otto
    Al oiling his 3-1/2 hp Otto
  • Steamer at CAMA's Fall Festival

  • A nice view of Al's 3-1/2 hp Otto
    A nice view of Al's 3-1/2 hp Otto.
  • Logging at CAMA's Fall Festival


  • The Cream Hill Agricultural School
  • CAMA member Pat Moran starting the Simplicity engine that powers the log saw
  • Originally built as a steam engine, this 10 hp one-cylinder engine was converted to run on well gas
  • Doug DeCosta’s fully restored Centaur garden tractor
  • CAMA member Art Downs splitting wood
  • This Robinson grist mill was built by Munson Bros., Utica, N.Y., in 1898
  • Engine No. 5, the heart of an operating narrow-gauge steam railroad at CAMA
  • Close-up look at the belt-driven oiler on Al’s Otto
  • 3-1/2 hp Otto was built in 1895
  • 3-1/2 hp Otto
  • Al oiling his 3-1/2 hp Otto
  • Steamer at CAMA's Fall Festival
  • A nice view of Al's 3-1/2 hp Otto
  • Logging at CAMA's Fall Festival

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the old saying goes, then it must be a duck. In the case of the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, it looks like an old iron club and for sure it sounds like one – but it’s actually much more than a club. 

Housed on compact, historic grounds just north of Kent, Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, or CAMA, operates as a full-fledged museum. Buoyed by a remarkably committed membership, the museum’s buildings and displays are open to the public five days a week from May through October. Volunteers man the displays, greeting visitors and answering questions.

“Ten years ago we made a commitment to be a museum, not a club,” says Pat Moran, a 25-year CAMA member from Seymour, Conn. That decision positioned CAMA neatly with two other historic attractions adjacent to the association’s grounds: The Sloane-Stanley Museum, housing an extensive collection of early hand tools, and the Kent Iron Furnace, where pig iron was produced for almost 70 years, both operated by the state of Connecticut.

CAMA is also home to Cream Hill School, one of the country’s first agricultural schools. Dating to the 1840s, the school’s original structure is open to visitors. Displays there showcase advanced farming techniques of the era, as well as artifacts of daily living in the 1800s.



Nestled in among trees on eight acres bordering the Housatonic River are nine carefully considered buildings and structures housing varied displays. A tractor barn, oil field pump house, a very fine mining museum (Connecticut is the birthplace of America’s mining industry), blacksmith shop, stationary steam engine hall and three buildings full of single-cylinder engines offer depth and more than a little charm.

“They took their time and spent the money to do more than just build pole barns,” Pat says. “It’s classy. There’s even a restoration building that’s heated in the winter. Some members keep their tools there to work on CAMA-financed restoration projects.” Sweat equity has made the museum what it is today. “In the 1980s they were putting up almost a building a year,” he adds.



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