Ford City, Pennsylvania 16226
We all eagerly looked forward to another season of steam shows. The different aromas coal smoke, steam, oil, gas engine exhausts and also the come hither smells from the eating stands, are all part of our wonderful hobby.
We model makers spend our winters building our favorite models whether it be steam or gas. We look with great anticipation to get together at the steam shows and see what each other put together. Many lasting friendships are made in this way men from all walks of life are united in our common bond.
The Model area of steam shows is one of great interest to all show-goers. We are even pleasantly surprised at the acceptance by the women's interest. The smiling faces of kids, both young and old, is reward enough for our efforts.
The last 20 years I have traveled many thousands of miles attending steam shows, having been to 27 different shows in the United States and Canada. The granddaddy of all shows has to be Canandaigua, New York, as far as 'modelers' are concerned. Due credit over the years goes to their model chairman, Clarence Stillson and 'Buzz' Longrod. Milton, Ontario, Canada, is also a very creditable show. The Canadian people are very hospitable to us, and the model builders are second to none. All the model people ask of the show sponsors is a suitable area under roof with tables to display the models and suitable hookups, whether steam or air being more desirable for models for safety sake and easier to supply. The show ads should welcome the model people. I once traveled 200 miles to a show and they did not even have a plank on which to set my models. I came home the same day.
We travel great distances quite often, which means several nights in a motel and other expenses all for the purpose of helping make a steam show a success. We often have to pay our way in and are even asked to join their society. That is out of reason if one makes six or eight shows a season.
There are many skilled model makers all over the country and it would be virtually impossible to single out any one as the best, but I would like to mention one of the best and that is Donald Fitzgerald of Hamburg, New York. His model of the giant Corliss that was used to drive all the machinery at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition is without a doubt one of the most fabulous steam engine models I have ever seen. He procured the original drawings from the Smithsonian Museum redrew them to a smaller scale made the patterns, then the castings and machined the whole works. This model stands about two feet high and is truly a museum piece. Without a doubt his model is the center of attraction at the Canandaigua Show.
I do want to stress one point and that is SAFETY. I think that every show should have several men delegated to see that no one may get hurt. Needless to say, in my travels I have witnessed many accidents from a broken leg to an almost severed arm. One bad accident and we may all be out of business. I have seen test fans for the large traction engines without suitable guard fences. I do not like to see youngsters riding on tractor fenders during parades. An ambulance or other emergency vehicle should be on hand staffed by qualified first aid people. In the instance where the small boy was severely cut no medics were handy and he had to be taken to the hospital by car.