As Rev. and Mrs. Ritzman pull out of our yard the Sunday morning after the reunion, Mr .Ritzman said to me, 'Now you know what you have to do.' My heart sank as I realized that for the fourth time I was supposed to send a write-up in for the ALBUM( almost before I had gotten my breath after the doings.
Before this appears in the ALBUM, I shall have sent all members of the National a complete write-up which has appeared in one of the local papers. But for those ALBUM readers who are not N. T. A. members, here is a brief overall picture.
The 1952 reunion of the National Threshers Association began Thursday morning, June 26, with three chartered Greyhound buses converging on the Blaker farm, Alvordton, Ohio, bound for Ford's Museum and Greenfield Village. In addition, five auto loads of eager visitors left from here, and many others in Ohio and Southern Michigan drove their own cars over. For many, it was their first visit to this world famous shrine of early Americana, and at night upon their return to the farm, many declared their desire to spend much more than a day visiting the museum and village. It was truly a successful excursion and provided an auspirious opening of the reunion.
The actual reunion got under way Friday morning, without a drop of the customary rain. Although other localities have had rain, northern Ohio was so dry that all would have welcomed at least a shower to relieve the heat and dust.
This year we had provided more room for the exhibits, and four tents were erected for various purposes. We also had planned for more eating arrangements, and three lunch stands served very adequately the large crowds.
Chief interest in the reunions centers, of course, in the engines, large and small. The large ones wore dwarfed by Louis David's Avery Under mounted, brought just the preceding week from western Nebraska.
Since space is running out, all we can give is the alphabetical list of owners and engines: Irel Ashbaugh, Defiance, Ohio, 20 hp. Minneapolis and a 10 hp. Nichols and Shepard; Wm. Benner of Clayton, Mich., 25 hp Russell; Leroy Blaker, Alvordton, Ohio, two 24 hp. Port Hurons; Gilbert Cowden, Detroit, Mich., 6 hp. Case Portable; Louis David, Northville, Mich., 30 hp. Avery Under mounted; Hope Earl, Pittsford, Mich., 21 hp Baker; Richard B. Garman, Huntertown, Ind., 18 hp. Advance Rumely; John Harper, New Haven, Ind., 12 hp. Rumely; Homer Holp, Brookville, Ohio, 16 hp. Advance; Melvin Lugten, Hamilton, Mich., 16 hp. Nichols and Shepard; H. E. Marsh, 25 hp. Case; Paul E. Myers, Defiance, Ohio, 12 hp. Case; Merle Newkirk, Midland, Mich., 20 hp. Reeves; J. H. Whitbey, Wayne, Ind., 20 hp. Rumely; Forrest Williamson, Latty, Ohio, 23 hp. Baker.
Interest in small models rivals that of the larger ones, and earliest to arrive with a small engine was Albert Joy of Granger, Ind., with his Merrimac, made 'out of odds and ends'. If we fail to mention any of the fine miniatures, we hope the owners will forgive us. The reunion was too large for any one person to cover it adequately. The alphabetical list is as follows: Ralph Ary, 1 hp Miniature; F. W. Bloom, Churubusco, Ind., Road Roller, Grain Separator, and Saw Mill; J. D. Bowers, West Liberty, Ohio, 2 hp. Wood Bros. Model; Lyndon Conrad, Hillsdale, Mich., Miniature traction; Lee Gaeke, Plymouth, Mich., Westing-house Engine, and 25 Models; Pat Gaeke, Plymouth, Mich., 6? hp. James Fleming Engine; Grant Good fellow, Grand Rapids, Mich., Steam Engine, Miniature Merry-Go-Round; Albert Joy, Granger, Ind., Model Steam 'Merrimac'; Delbert. Reich, Allen Park, Mich., Model Advance Rumely; Lester Roos, Geneseo, III., ? hp. Model A very; Ralph W. Shelburne, Zionsville, ind., Model Engine and Hay Baler; Chas. E. Zimmerman, Attica, Ohio, Model Engine, Peerless; F. Williams, Dayton, Ohio, Model Steam Engine.
Programs were given Thursday and Friday nights in the big tent, with colored movies and slides of threshing scenes, music and entertainment. A memorial service for deceased members was conducted Friday evening by Rev. Mr. Ritzman, and charter members were introduced, at this, the last meeting of the Association at the Blaker farm. Souvenirs were given out to all members, and copies will be sent to all members not present, relating how the reunions had their beginning, and showing pictures of the Ritzmans, A. D. Baker, and the Blakers.
The auxiliary group, TNT, (The National Thresharwomen) had a larger display than last year, with the addition of a women's tent where informal programs of music and talks were given, and iced tea and cockies served. Officers elected by the TNT were Mrs. F. Williamson, chairman; Mrs. Mac Kellar and Mrs. F. Newberry, vice-chairmen; Miss1 Leah Williamson, secretary-treasurer. Mrs. Harry Marsh and Mrs. Ralph Vincent had charge of the programs.
New wheat brought from Cincinnati by Roselle and Wm. Raisch was threshed both afternoons; The sawmill was operated by LeRoy and Emory Ohlenkamp and son Harold; A Stanley Steamer was driven by Harry Peterson who gave many free rides; A small caliope was brought by O. E. Sitton; and other features of the reunion which we have overlooked were nevertheless greatly appreciated. We also wish to express our appreciation to all those who worked so faithfully before, during and afterwards, and to the efficient parking system worked out by Clyde Felger and his helpers.
Photo of October 13th, 1951 when my son Raymond, moved my 50 Case from my father's farm at Orion, III., to my farm at Alpha, III. I am holding my grandson who is looking over the engine, on my right is my son, Raymond, and on my left, is my father. R. G. Bohman of Alpha, Illionis, speaking.
As usual, members came from great distances, but the award goes this year to Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Ehret, our staunch members in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, who flew up for the reunion. Mr. Ehret typifies the interest in steam shown by the young men, as he says that he was born 'Thirty years too late' to get in on the steam era. Others coming from some distance were F. Boesewetter, Walton, Neb.; Wm. Benfield, Cactus, Arizona; Wm. Edmondson, Butte Falls Oregon; Louis Ellefson, South Dakota; W. Feill, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A. D. Baker, oldest living steam traction manufacturer, and a lifetime member of the association, was unable to be present as planned because of Saturday's intense heat. But the Prony brake, which he presented to LeRoy Blaker and which he in turn presented to the NTA, was in use both days, and as usual proved to be the outstanding attraction of the reunion. A few of the moat powerful engines were Irel Ashbaugh's 20 hp. Minneapolis, developing 100 hp.; Harry Marsh's 25-80 Case, developing 120.5 hp.; Louis David's 30 hp. Avery Under mount plow engine, developing 121.25 hp.; LeRoy Blaker's 24 hp. Port Huron Longfellow which did 123 hp. to break the record. LeRoy souped this up with a Baker piston valve working it as a 11' by 10' simple and equipped with a crosshead pump and heater to supply the boiler, having no trouble to maintain steam pressure and water level.
The 1853 reunion will be held at the Fair Grounds in Montpelier, Ohio, as the NTA has completely outgrown the Blaker form. Officers elected at the busness meeting for the coming year are: President, LeRoy W. Blaker; Vice President, Forrest Williamson; Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. LeRoy Blaker; Chaplain, Rev. Elmer Ritzman. Directors: one for each state with a membership in NTA of ten or more members; Indiana, John Harper; Illinois, H. C. Ringle; Ohio, Charles Harrison; Pennsylvania, Morgan Hill; Michigan, Louis David; Wisconsin, Gilmar Johnson; Iowa, Ray Ernst; Kentucky, W. M. Jones. Trustees are: Harry Marsh, Homer Holp, Carlton Felger.