The NTA slogan, 'The Reunion Where Good Engineers Give Good Engines a Good Workout', was never more justified than at the 14th annual Reunion of the National Threshers Association, Inc., June 26-28, 1958, at the Williams County Fairgrounds, Montpelier, Ohio. Over 30 large engines were in operation, with many of them in such splendid condition that they rivaled or even surpassed the way they looked when they left the factories many years ago. They not only looked beautiful but they were kept in constant use, running the sawmill, testing on the Prony brake, running the two Baker fans, or climbing an incline as they used to do at the threshing conventions.
'Steam Challenges Gas' was the theme of the 1958 Reunion. Dealers were invited to bring in large new tractors, and a large Case 600 tractor with loaded tires and many wheel weights pulled nearly 8000 lbs. at the drawbar. Loaded down with all the men who could sit or stand on it, it was hooked tail to tail with Percy Sherman's (Palmyra, Mich.) smooth wheel Russell. Percy let them drag him backwards with steam shut off, but when he gave the Russell the steam he dragged the Case back, with the wheels still turning forward and the tires plowing deep furrows.
James Conrad's (Waterloo, Ind.) 25-80 Case surged the dynamometer scale upward to 30,000 lbs. when hooked to a 20 ton Caterpillar tractor. This test used a dynamometer brought by A. E. Rixmann of Oklahoma City, who also served as the MC of the two parades.
John Holp, Brookville, Ohio, put on a great show with his 20 hp. Advance, restored only as the Holp father and sons can do. His Advance turned the Baker fan 544 RPM, developing 82 hp. Leroy Blaker's 22-65 Case turned the fan 650 RPM. His 24-75 Port Huron that normally develops 93 hp. put out 110 hp. with the auxiliary valve open, running a little live steam in the low pressure cylinder.
The propane gas McCormick turned the Baker fan at the same speed as Blaker's McCormick-Deering W40, 420 RPM, or 52 hp. Blaker's 22-36 McCormick-Deering with a 6 cyl. 450 cu. in. motor turned the Baker fan 550 RPM, developing 87 hp. On the Prony brake John Limmer's (Perrysburg, Ohio) 20-60 Russell developed 72.6 hp. Irel Asbaugh's (Defiance, Ohio) 20-60 Minneapolis made 103 hp. Wilford Bunyea's (Wayne, Mich.) 20-60 Jumbo 70.1 hp. Percy Sherman's 25-75 Russell 103.7 hp. with 133 lb. steam. James Conrad's 25-80 Case 114 hp. with 150 lb. steam. The Case 600 tractor developed 50 hp. Lack of space prevents listing the records of some of the other engines.
Models at the Reunion were so numerous that since all can't be mentioned, we will say only that they played a big part in the great success of the Reunion; especially since the 16 hp Port Huron boiler was set up next to the Model Building and many of the models were taking steam from a to fascinate the big crowds always around that part of the grounds. Many of the larger models also participated in the parades. The small rail rod with the locomotive pulled by 'Little Foot' and providing free rides, was a great attraction as she sped around the 100 ft. diameter track carrying a full load of children.
Entertainment and instruction for the ladies is stressed at the NTA Reunions, and this year three excellent cooking schools were again conducted followed each day by Get Acquainted Teas or Coffees. The Hobby Lobby, with the greatest display of handiwork to be seen anywhere, had an especial attraction this year. The Williams County Historical Society set up an old kitchen, furnished with authentic antiques, down to the china cats sleeping under the 150-year-old stove with the raised oven. Right next to the old kitchen was a modern kitchen, and it was difficult to believe that the two rooms so dissimilar were used for the same purpose, providing food for the family.
At the annual meeting Thursday evening the same slate of officers was reelected, with Gil Cowden taking the place of the late Louis David as Michigan director. The names of 32 men were read during the Memorial Service conducted by the Rev. Elmer Ritzman.
The TNT officers elected were, Mrs. Earnest Hoofer, Toledo, Ohio, president; Mrs. John Maxwell, Plymouth, Michigan, vice president; Mrs. Glenn Shepard, McClure, Ohio, secretary-treasurer; Mrs. Ralph Vincent, Bryan Ohio, retiring president will continue to handle the sale of the Famous TNT Cook Book.
Five bands featured the parades Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. A Stanley Steamer and a 1904 Oldsmobile led the Huntertown Pioneer Auto Club, with all the big engines and many small ones falling in after the six floats. At the suggestion of one of the Charter members, LeRoy Blaker drove his Port Huron pulling the Charter member float up the incline during the parade, providing an unexpected thrill for the crowd which packed the grandstand.
A bumper crop of winter barley was shocked at the Blaker farm waiting to be brought to the fairgrounds 14 miles southeast to be threshed each afternoon. Rain in the forepart of the week prevented threshing until Friday, and a quarter inch of rain which fell Friday afternoon at the farm but not at the grounds, prevented any threshing until Saturday after the parade. The rest of the barley was threshed at the Blaker farm with the Port Huron steam engine the week after the Reunion.
Perfect weather, the largest crowd ever at an NTA Reunion and the greatest number of fine engines combined to make this the best Reunion yet.