Corydon, Iowa 50060
After the war ended in Europe in 1945, I had a 3-day pass to Paris, France, and when this was over I had seen some of the high spots but knew I really hadn't seen much of Paris. This year on July 8, I spent around 10 hours at the Mark Twain Threshers Show at Paris, Missouri, and felt the same way.
Earl Raines, of Eldon, Missouri had twisted my arm to come to this show. Earl is a man who you can give a pair of tin snips, a file and some scrap metal and he will make an engine. Earl has a flock of engines in Eldon but said he got tired of loading them in a trailer and towing a trailer to shows, so he started making models. In six weeks time, or less, this year he had made a hot air engine. In his exhibit he had 5 model engines (he has more at home). One engine he brought was a single cylinder upright Maytag he had made from a twin cylinder Maytag. Earl had used a different flywheel and designed his own ignition system. He had this engine belted to a 12 volt motor which was hooked to a 12 volt motorcycle battery and when he wanted to start this engine, he pushed a switch and the motor started the Maytag. After the engine was started, the 12 volt motor became a generator and recharged the battery. He had a walking beam engine which was made from some Clinton engine parts, and anything else he could find. He had a small hopper-cooled double flywheel gas engine, I would say not over 10' long. My wife wanted to swipe this one, but Earl had it bolted down. His other engine was an upright water-cooled engine of which he had made nearly everything, including the radiator.
Close to Earl's exhibit was an exhibit of Leonard Stroup of Pilot Grove, Missouri. Leonard had made the smallest Case traction engine model I have ever seen. He also had a tiny upright steam engine running a merry-go-round. He was running this with compressed air during the show.
Wayne Lupton of Denver, Colorado had a table full of models. In a quick count, I counted 5 steam engines, 4 separators, a gas 20-46 Case, 15-30 Rumely Oil Pull, a Mogul gas engine running a hay baler, 2 teams with grain wagons and I probably missed some. Most of these were running on compressed air.
Ed Chick of Winono, Minnesota, brought two nice Fuller & Johnson models of the Model N 1920 and he rated them HP.
There were many more outstanding models at the show. I just plain could not observe all of them. George Pilkington of Fiatt, Illinois, brought a rare engine to this show, an Eli made by the Moline Pump Company of Moline, Illinois. This was a 2 HP engine and George has the original manual for it. George also exhibited a 1929 Model A Ford Huckster wagon. Then, for a surprise, he pulled from his pocket two Xerox copies of pages from an old Maytag washing machine catalog. On one page was a gadget which replaced the wringer and was a sausage grinder, the other paper showed a gadget which went in after you removed the agitator from the machine and you now had a churn.
One man who brought an exhibit from way up North in Iowa was Jim Patton of Cedar Rapids. Jim brought his 1939 12 HP Witte Power Plant and a FM 1916 10 HP engine.
Three members from the IA-MO club were there with engines. Red Bucanan from Numa, la., and Dana Davis and Kenny Lupton of Unionville, Mo., brought several engines. I don't know how many they brought but in the exhibit was a Keller Bloomer 3 HP, a Southern Engine made in Jackson, Tenn., and 6 HP Worthington made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
There was a nicely restored 1941 Lindeman John Deere crawler tractor exhibited by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Haverfield of Parker, Kansas. I understand they have an outstanding John Deere collection. They went to Oregon after this crawler.
Before the parade started at around 1:00 Saturday afternoon, Rev. Virgil Grove of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, Mo., gave a short but inspiring memorial service for all the Mark Twain Thresher members that passed on. Rev. Grove drove a scale steam engine to the spot in front of the grandstand where he gave the service. I learned that Rev. Grove knows all about steam engines. The parade was led by the American Legion Color Guard. After the parade, there was a teter-totter contest for the small model steam engines. My wife stayed in the grandstand most of the afternoon watching the entertainment presented out there Missouri mule jumping contest and mule races. Her favorite was the straw scramble. In this event a pile of straw was placed on the ground. Children were divided into age groups and scrambled for money that was dumped into the pile of straw. I think winners were chosen by the amount of money they found. The grandstand entertainment must have been good because every time I looked that way the grandstand was full of people.
There was one building on the grounds full of people doing crafts such as spinning, rug weaving, broom making, feather jewelry, leather craft and knives, butcher, paring, etc. There was a blacksmith on the grounds doing iron work and a couple of people making rope. Other highlights of the show for me was a demonstration of a steam engine belting up to a separator and the engineer did it on the first try perfectly.
Leroy and Shirley Fry from Mendon, Mo., were on hand with the best restored horse machinery etc., I have ever seen and according to most people I have talked to, in their opinion, it is the biggest and best in the Midwest.
The Toby and Susie tent show was on the grounds. This is almost history itself as this is the only tent show still operating in the United States.
I couldn't close this without mentioning the food stand operated here by the Monroe County pork producers. Here we had tenderloin sandwiches like farm oriented people remember. I wish I had taken a picture of one for future reference.
To sum up: After World War I there was a song titled, 'How Can You Keep Them Down on the Farm After They Have Seen Paree?' A new parody to this song may be 'How Can You Keep Them Home When There is a Threshing Show Going on in Paree', MO.?'