July 8th, 1972, opened the second annual show of the Central
Kentucky Steam & Gas Engine Association, Inc., an organization
of over 100 members from counties in and around central Kentucky.
Throughout the 2 day period, over 4,000 people attended and enjoyed
I talked to several people who had traveled from as far as
Chicago and the New England states of the north; and from as far
south as the Carolinas and Georgia.
Paris, the site of the show, is located in the heart of the
Kentucky bluegrass country, the home of thoroughbred horses and
mint juleps. Paris is approximately 20 miles north of Lexington,
Kentucky, and 80 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. Paris is easily
reached from interstates 75 and 64, and is centered in the heart of
some of Kentucky’s finest traditional settings. Surrounding
Paris is Claiborne Farm the largest horse breeding farm in the
world. Architectural enthusiasts can see some of the more elaborate
Kentucky homes constructed in the old southern tradition and dating
back to pre-Civil War times. Cane Ridge meeting house, built in
1791, and the scene of one of the great religious revivals in early
U.S. history, is about a 15 minute drive from the show grounds.
Kentucky’s history is abundant at every turn of the road, and
the annual show is an attempt to bring a part of that history and
tradition alive for everyone to enjoy.
Anyone interested in the aspects of farming and life in general
dating from the turn of the century through the 1970’s was
fascinated by the exhibits on display. Farming equipment of all
sizes, makes, and models were not only on stationary display, but
were set up to do the work for which they were originally
One power source which claimed the interest of the crowds was
the display of gasoline engines. The engines ranged from a
horsepower Vim that might have been used to run a washing machine
or a corn sheller; up to the huge 32 horsepower Fairbanks Morse
that was found in Orangeburg, Kentucky. However, the large display
of gasoline engines was only one type of equipment to be seen.
One of the most interesting exhibits was the display of antique
tractors. All the tractors to be seen were restored to the exact
specifications as when they were manufactured and distributed in
the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Many companies were
represented in restored machinery exhibited by members of the
association. John Deere, Waterloo Boy, Farmall, International,
Minneapolis, Case and Titan were the main makes represented. All of
these tractors were put to work in tractor pulls, woven wire
fencing, and with the threshing machines that kept busy over the
weekend. The opportunity to see these machines at work, some on
steel and some on rubber wheels, was far more interesting when the
observer realized the 40 or 50 years ago these same tractors were
doing this same work.
A tractor is a powerful and useful machine, but they were
out-ranked in power by the 4 big steam engines at the show. A
Baker, Case, Advance Rumley and Keck-Gonnerman were on hand for all
to see, ride, and enjoy. Antique farming displays were the primary
interest of the show, but aside from these, there were displays of
other related machines and implements.
Have you ever seen a shingle mill? You would have seen one at
the show last year cutting cedar shingles. The shingle mill was
operated by a 1936 John Deere tractor and others of similar
vintage, joined to the mill by a pulley belt. The wood for the mill
was supplied by an old sawmill that cut logs into boards of various
sizes and thicknesses. Brooms were made on an old hand operated
broom-making machine. An old washing machine made almost entirely
of wood was a novelty that pointed out the advancement of the
housewife from those days to these. One of the main attractions was
a 1915 Wurlitzer band organ which gave the observer the opportunity
to watch the intricate workings of the machine’s insides and
wonder just how all this produced the enjoyable music heard by
If you enjoy antique cars, you could have spent your time
looking over the more than 40 Model A’s, T’s, and later
model cars. These cars were judged and trophies were awarded to the
Antiques, however, didn’t take up the entire show. Modern
farm equipment was displayed by Case, John Deere, International and
Ford. These machines were available for inspection and driving.
No one enjoying the show suffered from a lack of refreshments of
food. All of the everyday refreshments were provided, plus the
added extra of homemade ice cream. The Paris Stockyards, where the
show is held each year, has an excellent restaurant which was open
from early morning till late night for the convenience of
exhibitors and visitors.
Camping and restroom facilities were available for everyone, and
local motels in Paris and Millersburg provided accommodations for
those without campers.
The 1972 show, which contributed greatly to Paris being named an
All-Kentucky City, was quite an enjoyable success, but the 1973
show, to be held July 6, 7, and 8th, promises to attract even more
exhibitors and spectators.
President Ted Wiseman, and Vice-President Paul Crump, and all
the members of the Central Kentucky Steam & Gas Engine
Association, Inc., and their families hope you will be able to
relive with them farming and living as it was ten years ago.