3746 Winter Garden Road,Orlando, Florida 32805
These photos were taken at Bradenton, Florida, where Florida's first engine show was held February 10 and 11, this year.
The show's imposing title was 'Florida American Royal Gas-Steam Round Up', and what it lacked in weight was made up in enthusiasm. For a first show, it was an excellent, well-worth seeing one. I consider that my 250 mile round trip to see it was amply justified.
I took no notes (which I now regret), so will give you general impressions. First, in the full size class, it was a gas engine show, though I had heard hopeful remarks preceding the show that 4 or 5 big steamers would be there.
But Philip Laudon's Russell is so perfectly proportioned, and so handsomely built (the best I've seen anywhere) that actually it qualifies to run in the Big League. The two photos of it enclosed should be viewed together, for, viewed separately, it doesn't occur to one that he is looking at a miniature, though not so small a one, either.
Three views of the Russell are enclosed. Descriptions of each are taped to the back of each.
I also enclose an almost full-size view of a miniature I feel sure is advertised for sale on page 51 of your March-April 1968 issue. It is an English 'Ajax', built on so small a scale that I hesitate to say just what the scale is. To get the enclosed picture, I stood quite close to it and focused the camera carefully. The only thing I see a bit out of scale here is the steam gauge, a justifiable departure considering how difficult it would be to match the scale of the gauge to the engine.
The traction steamers were all miniatures, 5 in number. They did not parade, as has been the practice in other shows. Being a new show, it seems likely organizational procedures were just a-borning, and I expect much more comprehensive doings next year.
Even so, I pased up the widely acclaimed Gasparilla Parade to attend this show, and I'm not a bit sorry. I got my money's worth and that includes the total cost of the trip. I will be there next year if my wind holds out.
This meet had some of the touches of a county fair, on a smaller scale. At one edge of the speedway, before one corner of the grandstand, was a heterogeneous collection of 'you name it we have it', some sheltered by big umbrellas, others housed by miniature tents, where a barter-trade-huckstering operation was enjoyed by all. There probably was even some profit attached.
There were probably 50 small gas engines, ranging from 1 to 5 h.p., grouped in one collection. All makes. There was a very interesting Herndon protable electric generator, probably about 5 k.w., that was worth a trip there to see.
Two big Oil-Pull tractors were there, also a quite large portable gas engine of the size we once used to pull a thresher with a 24-inch cylinder and drag stacker. Considering the size of the largest portable, I would even be willing to 'throw-in' a wind stacker!
I'm sorry I wasn't at hand with my camera to record the starting of this big engine. A stepladder was an accessory to the starting. It called to mind a much earlier day when I climbed on a big fly wheel and brought my weight down on the outer end of a spoke, letting go in a hurry when my feet touched the ground, while another guy fiddled with the gas at the engine's business end.
But that was a long time ago and this was only 'yesterday'.
Well, cherrio - see you next February in Bradenton!