Dear Editor

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James M. Barnhart
Courtesy of James M. Barnhart, 3746 Winter Garden Road, Orlando, Florida 32805. This engine built and owned by Ray Schisler, Clearwater, Florida. This engine made a hit with me. It has a 5 HP vertical boiler. An interesting ''steam engine''.

3746 Winter Garden Road, Orlando, Florida 32805

FIRST: I request that the reader of this screed if other than
the Rev. Elmer bring same to the Reverend’s notice, for the
triple reason that (a) I knew him ‘back in the days when’,
(b) it may add to his good cheer to know that he has a consistent
rooter in this far-off land, and (c) it is in the nature of an
Official Report on an Engine Meet.


On February 8th & 9th, 1969, the FLORIDA AMERICAN ROYAL GAS
AND STEAM ENGINE ROUNDUP held its second annual meet at the
Sarasota-Bradenton Speedway. Matching my last years performance, I
was again lost before I found it. The Speedway is 3 miles south of
Bradenton, but the county commissioners (or the road authorities)
won’t allow any signs. But we found it!

As I expected, it was much improved over last year. Assembled
there was the largest collection of portable and stationary gas
engines I ever saw, in their original paint colors (renewed), most
of them running, and running well.

Many other items of interest were there, including a sugar-cane
mill making molasses while you watched. It was for sale, and is
called ‘Ribbon Cane Molasses’ here.

It may be because I am pro-steam that I found the steam exhibit
the most interesting. I nominate as the best exhibit our Philip
Loudon’s 4-inch scale Russell Traction Engine and his Woods
Bros Thresher of the same scale. The thresher’s wind-stacker
had not yet been added, and the machine’s covering was not in
place, but this gave one a perfect view of its remarkable straw
handling arrangement.

But the self-feeder was completed, the belt guide was in place,
and the cylinder was turning. It was working perfectly. This engine
and thresher, photographed with nothing adjacent to indicate the
actual size, is so perfectly made that one would think he was
viewing a photo of the original machine. A perfect example of
expert machine work, made WITHOUT blueprints! The quadruple bends
on the straw rack cranks are something to write home about!

Perhaps it is well to mention here that Philip had his 4-inch
scale Russell out last July 4th hauling neighborhood children, in
his 4-inch scale 4-seated rubber tired specially designed passenger
wagon, on the streets in his home section of Orlando.

Ray Schisler, of Clearwater, Florida, had a very interesting and
well made engine of his own design – not a copy of one of the
engines we knew ‘back in the good old days’ but a highly
practical machine, with everything in proportion. It had a 5 hp
vertical boiler, with an appropriately sized engine mounted
horizontally ahead of the boiler, and a water tank in front, Ray
said he could travel along with an I.H.C. at a dog trot (and I
submit that the dog would have to trot fast).

I’m going to talk to Ray about a picture project, and, if he
agrees, maybe I’ll have some photos Elmer will consider good
enough for him to publish. (I’m not trying to butter you up,
Elmer, I concede they’ll have to be good to make the

In conclusion: A number of photos are enclosed, with a typed
description attached to the back of each.

And now, Cheerio! See you next year at the ROYAL AMERICAN GAS

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