It was old home week again at Antique Acres, last August 22; and for four days the grounds were filled with equipment and faces, both old and new. Nothing can top that mixture of fun and work at a threshing show. Through the evening were a bit chilly for those usual gatherings around the picnic tables, when you'd settle down for a good visit, we were blessed with bright sunny days. And not a minute of those days was wasted. From every direction, from sunrise to sunset, there were men and their machinery exhibiting their skills.
To the north you found the threshing crew operating A.J. Fischels & Sons' 18 H.P. Wood Brothers Steam Engine & Wood Bros. Hummingbird Thresher, a complete Iowa product. And with the addition of a team of four year old Belgium mares hitched to the hay rack, it was truly an authentic replica of those good old days. Ray Fischels, Salem, New Jersey, usually claims squatters rights on the Wood Bros. Engine during showtime, but taking a leave of absence this year, left the honor to Andy Fischels, Waterloo, Iowa, and Bob Fischels, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Well, Andy, the old pro, came through with flying colors, but Bob didn't receive such high marks. Seems someone double-belted him and it just doesn't work that way. Mr. John Sundermeyer, Readlyn, Iowa, and Bob Fischels were in charge of the separator.
Looking to the crop situation this year, because of weather conditions and the nature of the soil, they were a little below average for the Acres' standards. John Sundermeyer was again farm manager for the Acres and it was decided to put in 18 acres of oats and 40 acres of corn. Twelve acres of oats were threshed before showtime with a 20 H.P. Minneapolis Steam Engine, owned by Shelby Bellinger, La Porte City, Iowa, and his son, Dean, Waterloo, Iowa, and the Fischels' Hummingbird Thresher. The men also threshed five acres of oats for a neighbor this summer. Six acres of the best oats were left to thresh during the show; all of which were baled during showtime with John Sundermeyer's New Holland Baler and the manpower supplied by various members of the Kruger and Persinger families of Columbia, Missouri.
On the southern border, the boys outdid themselves this year with their plowing expedition. The first man in the field each afternoon was Mr. Everett Hildebrandt, Waverly, Iowa, with his team of Belguims on the walking plow. This was a first for the Acres and Lou Kruger and his daughter, Brenda, even tried their hand at it. Then from 2 H.P. we jumped to 140 H.P. with the Smolik Brothers', Osage, Iowa, Reeves Steam Engine, still believed to be the largest and only engine left in operation today. The Reeves pulled the Smolik's John Deere 14 bottom plow; and with little effort, the Great Iron Horse once again proved its worth. Next Mr. Hildebrandt increased his horse power with five Belguims hitched to a gang plow. Then came our President, A. J. Fischels, and John Sundermeyer with their 30 H.P. Townsend Oil Tractor, that looks like a miniature steam engine, pulling a 3 bottom plow. Following this was the Smolik's 20 H.P. Advance Rumely Threshing Engine and 14 bottom plow with 8 bottoms down. They also exhibited their 110 Case Steamer on the 14 bottom plow, engineer, Mr. George Hedke, Davis Juncion, Illinois. Filling in for Mr. Arnie Slyndie, Lyle, Minnesota, was Mr. Jack Fritchard, Elma, Iowa. Jack engineered the 140 Reeves Engine and the 20-60 Rumely Engine. He did a superb job and we hope to see more of him around the Acres.
Mr. Charles Robinson, exhibitor from Cresco, Iowa, made a few rounds with his newly restored 6 cylinder Rumely tractor. These were all steel wheel equipment, bringing us up to the modern era of the rubber tire. Among the various models of this type who aided in turning the turf was Mr. Roy Harper, Cedar Falls, Iowa, with his 'homemade' tractor that has a Buick motor and Massey rear axle. Needless to say, it was an exhibit of excellent showmanship and outside of a little trimming around the eges. of a little trimming around the edges. Mr. Sundermeyer's postoperative show plowing was cut considerably.
Due east lies the excitement of the sawmill and its fearless crew. Owned by J.S. Fenton, Waterloo, Iowa, the mill was powered by the Fenton 30-60 Oil Pull, the Smolik's 20-60 Rumely Steam Engine, and the Bellinger's 20 H.P. Advance Rumely Universal Steam Engine. Mr. Leonard Flynn, Toledo, Iowa, we award you a Master of Arts Degree for your talent at the sawmill. His very capable assistants were Mr. Fenton, Mr. Cleo Howard, Dike, Iowa, and Mr. Frank Williams, Finchford, Iowa. They really kept her a humming; and by the close of the show, the log pile had pretty well diminished.
Andy Fischels' sawmill was kept busy this summer sawing lumber, 90% walnut and cherry, for various hobbiests. The mill, operated by Andy, was usually powered by the Fischels' Wood Bros. Steam engine, operated by John Sundermeyer. For economical reasons, the engine was fired with wood; and it just wasn't the same. You learn to associate that strong burnt-coal smell in your nostrils and long before you hear that first shrill whistle, you know when an engine is being fired up. It took a heap of slab wood and Andy's buzz saw really got a work-out. Mr. Fischels also restored another buzz saw this summer, all steel, that was donated to him by Mr. Russle Witt, Reinbeck, Iowa. Rafters for another new building on the Acres were sawed out of red elm and stored for '75. Coal was used for all of the threshing operations and in all of the engines during the show.
An interesting item, brought in for exhibit, was an upright boiler with a stationary engine and a buzz saw on the back. This is owned by Mr. Dave Hutchens, Denver, Iowa, and he plans to be back again next year.
When Frank Williams wasn't helping out at the sawmill, hay rack, or wherever he could lend a helping hand, he was busy demonstrating the use of his wood buzz saw, which is attached to his WC Allis Chalmers tractor.
Always a crowd pleaser are the shingle saws with Cliff Johnston, Vice-President, Cedar Falls, Iowa, operating his regular size shingle saw and Art Robinson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, operating his 1/4 size shingle saw. It must be those cedar shingles they saw, 'cause those boys sure do smell good! Art also exhibited his 1-3/4' scale model of one of the 1st John Deere Power Balers and a 1-3/4' scale model of a Canadian Standard Gas Engine. He constructed all three of these; and you never know just what he is going to turn up with each year from his vast collection of scale model machinery. Mrs. Robinson lends a welcome hand at the Acres' Souvenir Booth. So, this couple, besides being true friends of the Acres, are a great asset to our show.
My brother and I have owned a few gas engines and also owned and operated many gas tractors but they never have had the attraction to me that the old steamers have. Might add that we have owned several steamers and operated two steam threshing outfits for several years. Steam started building up in my blood at about the age of four years and the pressure appears to be getting higher as the years go by. I am past the eighty two year age but the pressure doesn't seem to be serious. I have a sixteen HP Russell steamer, pictured above, that is in excellent shape and also a model Russell three fifths the size of the sixteen which I built. All a do it your self job except the boiler which I bought, code and carries one hundred fifty P.S.I. I also have a 30-60 Aultman - Taylor gas tractor which has an electric starter of my own design and make. I sometimes wonder about my mental condition having such items as these for playthings.
Also in this area is located the Old Time Blacksmith Shop, literally filled to the rafters with its many mysterious items. And these aren't just show pieces; they are put to good use all summer long. It is one of those pieces of history that comes to life when you stand back and watch these fascinating techniques of our forefathers.
Next to this are the exhibit buildings, bursting at the seams with just about everything imaginable. Whether you're in the mood to buy, sell, swap, or just browse around, you won't want to miss these. Among the exhibitors were: Henry Keyser, dishes and antiques; Dan Gibbons, antiques; Tom Salvan, antique jars and glassware; Alvin Stedman, antiques; Hanner Antiques, dishes; Masters Touch Antiques, imports from the Philippines; Paroth Antiques, antique items; Schniedermans, dishes and old coins; Charron Variety, ceramic items; Mixdorfs, miniature horses and wagons; Helen Galle, stuffed animal and dolls; Reeves Woodworking, all kinds of walnut items, while you watch; Wayne Geeting, spinning wheel; and loyal friends and exhibitors, Fritz & Clayta Harnish's huge display of watch fobs and marine engines. A big thanks go to these great show-people!
You may also take a stroll through our so-called 'cemetery section', which is located behind this area. But I'm renaming it our convalescence section, because these items aren't buried and forgotten. They are there to view and revive many a memory; and there is always that chance of being singled out for restoration.
Completing the perimeter is our western edge. Here you enter our campgrounds; and there is never a dull moment there. Campers arriving from all over the nation are warmly greeted as the Acres' red carpet of hospitality is rolled out. With the upgrading of our electrical system in '73, the modern rest-rooms, complete with showers, and plenty of green grass and shade trees, the Acres are proud of the campgrounds they have to offer you.
1917, shows Ed Trego at left with two men, unidentified. Leola Badders is pictured on the rear wheel. In back of her is Forrest Trego and on the flywheel is Les Badders. The horses are Nellie and Major.
Also, in this area are located our eating tent with Kentucky Fried Chickens' finger-lickin' good morsels; our snow-cone tent, operated by Mrs. Lou Kruger and her very capable assistants, Johnny and Bobby Persinger; our Sound Room-Office Building, operated this year by Mr. John Ruth, Waverly, Iowa, and Mr. Fred Golinveaux, Waterloo, Iowa; our bandstand, where Mr. Shelby Bellinger is MC for our daily parades which consists of every piece of equipment on the Acres that is in operative condition; Mrs. Mildred Ruth's ceramic and novelty booth; and the Acres' Souvenir Booth where you'll find something for every age with its enormous variety of books on old tractors, farm machinery, gas engines, steam engines, antique cars, cook-books, and subscriptions to Iron Man Album, Engineers & Engines, and Stumptown Steamer, all great magazines for you enthusiasts. They also have a variety of antique toy tractors, along with many other items of interest. We believe we offer one of the largest selections of any show in this area; and we hope you'll stop by and let us serve you. Mrs. Harold Pries is in charge of the booth and is happy to hear from you during the winter months at her home address of Bremer, Iowa. She informed us a few weeks ago that she was contacted by two of our local libraries for some of our collection, so, perhaps this 'now generation' is really interested in what we are trying to preserve. And despite the enjoyment of self-satisfaction, isn't that really what it's all about?
And in the center of all of this is located our enormous gas engine line-up and display of machinery of about any type. One of our new gas engine exhibitors is Mr. Marv Lonergan of Waterloo, Iowa. He promises to have a display of 15 to 16 gas engines to add to our line for 75. Mr. Kenny Cass, Dunkerton, Iowa exhibited his very rare Crabb engine among his wide collection, and his Lennox, a most unique gas engine made in 1908 at the Lennox Furnace Company in Marshall-town, Iowa. Mr. Cass, aided by Mrs. Cass who dies a terrific job with the striping on his engines, recently restored 20 engines that he plans to bring to the Acres next show. With our own members, plus exhibitors, the gas engine line-up increases yearly. To mention just a few of our new exhibits in our machinery line-up, we had a Waterloo Boy, owned by one of our members, Mr. Alfred Lindeman, Waterloo, Iowa, and he also has a real showpiece for '75. An 18-36 Hart Parr, restored like new and is complete with an automobile paint job. Newly restored tractors were Randy Pries' 1939 John Deere B, a General owned by the Larry Cross family, Marvin Berends' 1932 Challenger and 1935 F-20 Farmall, Russel Miller's 1945 John Deere H, and Robert Buck's 1937 F-20 Farmall. An exhibit that really caught yur eye was the 1919 Indiana Gas Tractor, formerly owned by 'Grandpa Jones' of Hee Haw fame, owned and restored by Eldon Cortes, Zwingle, Iowa. As I mentioned before, these are just a fraction of the items on display at the Acres during showtime; and there is also wind of a couple of new interesting pieces we're hoping to have for the coming show, but mum's the word for now!
A new machinery display for '75 that is being discussed by the members is to have a section for all items manufactured in Waterloo, Iowa. We think this would be of interest to many.
Added to our antique car exhibit were two, owned by Mr. Don Gibbons, Waterloo, Iowa, a 1928 Model A Sports Coupe that was completed after three years of restoring, and a 1927 Buick Don purchased this summer and plans to have in top condition for '75. Jerry Rottinghaus also displayed a 1919 Model T Ford that isn't 'quite' restored, but we all enjoyed it just the same.
For the first time at the Acres, the Smolik's 140 Reeves Steam Engine was challenged on the proney brake, thanks to Mr. Sundermeyer coming up with a belt long enough and strong enough. It was really a picture!
The members had quite a busy summer in '74. They displayed various equipment at the Plainfield, Iowa Centennial, the Waverly, Iowa Ridiculous Days, and the Janesville, Iowa Centennial. Improvements were made on the grounds such as one of our huge trees cut down, due to dutch-elm disease, resulting in a pedestal for one of our gas engines. It wasn't quite as easy as it sounds; the tree was only about ten feet away from our restrooms, plus a very windy day. If it seemed the Acres sort of jumped right out at your this year as you were traveling down Hwy. 218, perhaps it was because of the newly remodeled entrance gates, sporting freshly painted wagon wheels and Antique Acres signs, letting you know this is the place! Thanks go to designer, Harold Pries, Secretary, and Mrs. Don Gibbons, artist. There was also new gravel spread in the drive and one of the big exhibit buildings.
The Acres are open as a museum from June to October and there is usually something taking place at the Acres each day. And although it seems to grow yearly, it is still small enough for the true meaning. LATE NEWS FLASH: Remember reading earlier in the story, 'mum's the word?' Well, now it's no longer 'mum'. On February 1, 1975, a 400 H.P. Special Murrey Corliss Stationary Engine was purchased for Antique Acres. This engine was located by Mr. Ed &Ray Smolik, Osage, Iowa, from a Whatcheer, Iowa Brick & Tile Plant. It is our hope to have it moved and on a foundation at the Acres by the third weekend in August, our regular show time. Although it may not be operative by then, we at the Acres are very enthusiastic about this and will really put our shoulder to the wheel.