| January/February 1967

Chappell, Nebraska

Because I am interested in collecting and restoring antique engines, I was invited to help with the annual Steam and Gas Engine Show at Bridgeport, Nebraska this fall and it proved to be one of the most interesting days a house painter (my trade) could ask for.

It takes a lot of hands to keep those old monsters running and some fancy footwork to line them up and handle the big crowd that attends. Little things like sand in your shoes or sanburrs in your socks are forgotten when one of the big ones makes a successful swing around the parade ground. And they were all there - Aultman-Taylor, J.I. Case, Waterloo Boy, Rumely, John Deere, Huber - to name a few.

The old Aultman-Taylor came to an obstinate halt half-way around and had to be dragged off by a proud old Case. The 12-ton giant was a load for the smaller steamer and the smoke billowed and the steam rolled as it dug into the sand. I had misgivings about the Waterloo Boy but it made it without a hitch. Last year the governor stuck and I had to drop into low gear and run by adjusting the speed on the carburetor

The 1910 two-cylinder Rumely was hard to start because it has make and break ignition (no spark plugs). The old monster gave the little G. P. John Deere tractor a tussle just to turn over those immense iron flywheels, let alone start it; but the big four-cylinder Huber came around the parade ground with its head in the air, no smoke and without missing a shot.

We had one ancient hard-tired G. M. G. which we finally got started by advancing the spark by hand. It has no battery, just a magneto. I held the spark lever while my assistant engineer drove. Those old rigs are hard to steer and when we came a-round the corner, we ended up against a tree. To complicate our embarrassment, it took quite a while to find reverse and get back on course.


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