7197 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, Indiana 46410.
Myrl Hix of Pittsburg, Kansas had extolled the wonders of the
Ozark Steam-O-Rama to me on several occasions. Since Mr. Hix is a
recognized authority on steam engines and gas engines as well as a
collector and builder of steam and hot air engine models, I felt
compelled to make this show a must on my show list.
Leaving Merrillville, Indiana on Friday afternoon and spending
the night in Alton, Illinois, we arrived on the show grounds at
1:30 P. M. on Saturday, after an enjoyable drive through the Ozarks
Our arrival was made pleasant by the fine people in attendance
at the gate.
The first thing we saw as we entered the grounds was Myrl Hix in
his familiar blue bus-camper with his huge array of steam engines
under a canopy beside the bus.
Mr. Hix told me that shortly after he had set up his display and
started to operate the model steam engines on compressed air, as is
his practice, the air compressor he used to supply the air,
developed engine trouble. Mr. Hix and Mr. Coy Marriott localized
the fault in the magneto of the engine.
Mr. Marriott helped to remove the engine. He then took it down
to the town of Ozark, Mo. and proceeded to make repairs for a
fellow exhibitor (Mr. Hix). Upon finding that the magneto needed a
coil, Coy took the magneto into Springfield, purchased the coil,
installed it, and returned the engine ready to run.
We all realize this is not the only case of friendly assistance
that can be cited, but it is certainly out of the ordinary every
day life, sad to say.
Alongside of Mr. Hix was Francis Sevart & son with their
Witte drag-saw and a fine Associated Manufacturing Company engine
along with other gas engines which they own and have restored.
Francis Sevart is President of the local branch of Early Day Gas
Engine and Antique Tractor Association at Fort Scott, Kansas.
There also, bright as a new dollar, with engines was Sheldon
Merrill from Warrensburg, Missouri. His Monitor engine and
pumpjack, pumping water around a closed cycle was a treat to see. I
find Sheldon to be a real dyed in the wool collector and
Nearby was Mr. Earl Smith with his steam engine and equipment in
full operation. This, to me, was representative of what shows are
A touch of the past as many of us have experienced, was a wheat
grinding mill. This mill arrangement was kept pure by the use of an
old single-cylinder gasoline engine to drive the mill.
If you are not careful you will fall over a beautiful array of
threshing equipment models owned by Mr. Pope-joy of Tulsa, Oklahoma
which includes a model steam traction engine, thresher and water
wagon. Mr. Popejoy is a friendly, magnetic personality that
I’ll enjoy again in future years.
As I walk across the parade circle, I hustle out of the way of
Coy Mariott rolling smooth the tracks and ruts made by the
operations of traction engines and tractors after the rain.
It was good to see again Mr. George Meister whom I had last seen
at the Elwood, Indiana show of this year.
You are only on the grounds a short while when you feel a
compulsion to rush from one exhibit to another, photographing and
tape recording. You finally settle down to a methodic repeat circle
of the show and get to know the exhibitors.
If you attend a show where the Kneppers do not, you make notes
of it. This is easier than listing the shows where they are. They
do an exceptional job of representing Iron-Men Album and Gas Engine
Magazine. They have an assortment of reprints that will surely
absorb a lot of your time and you will come away a subscriber of
the magazines and/or a purchaser of some of the select reprints.
(The Kneppers are friendly also).
The scale Star under mounted engine of Mr. McCauley of Nixa,
Missouri will give you a thrill. This is indeed a jewel of a
project. I’ve never seen a Star Model before, but if I ever see
another, I feel sure it will not be any nicer than this particular
You will get a chance to sharpen your knife on an old-fashioned
(let’s face it, OLD) straddle seat grindstone driven from a
single-cylinder gas engine. The owner has several engines displayed
on this trailer and invites those who wish to ‘sharpen your
Francis or Ronnie Sivert will saw a slice of log with their
Witte drag saw if you even look interested as you walk up.
Done properly it will take some time to look at every steam
engine model on display on Mr. Hix’s exhibit table. These
models are of exquisite design and built by real top-notch
craftsmen. All models are operating on compressed air supplied from
the air compressor (mentioned earlier in this report) into a
manifolded set of metering valves which are tubed to the respective
engine to be controlled.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mrs. Blaker was
awarded a Masters’ Degree from Michigan State University.
Her memberships were with the Fayette United Methodist Church,
Williams County Historical Society, Williams County Farm Bureau and
the W. C. T. U.
Lucille Blaker served as Secretary of the National Threshers
Association for over 20 years. She and LeRoy retired from office in
1969. Lucille was still very active in the organization.
Surviving are her husband, LeRoy, one son William Pryer,
Portland, Michigan, one daughter, Mrs. Margretta Rummel, Sebewaing,
Michigan, five grandchildren and two great granddaughters.
Lucille will be greatly missed by the many hundreds of friends
she made both at the Reunion of the National Threshers and also at
the many other steam shows she attended with LeRoy. It was through
the ideas and efforts of Lucille Blaker that the National
Thresherwomen was formed.
Funeral services were held in the Fayette United Methodist
Church on January 9, graveside services were at Danby Cemetery,
Portland, Michigan. Courtesy of The National Threshers Association
and The National Thresherwomen.
Some of these engines are belted to generators to light
miniature lamps and others are running idle at very, very slow
speed so the viewer can fully see the movements of the various
parts and better understand the workings of the work-horse of the
You know Mr. Hix by his bright hat with identification painted
on, along with a picture of a steam engine. If you ask this man in
the bright color hat a question, you will get the most reliable
information possible to better understand how models are made,
restored, operated and how they work.
A hot air engine occupies one end of this display table. It is
operating relentlessly all day long. Mr. Hix designed and built
this engine from data and pictures of old engines of the past. MR.
HIX CAN AND WILL TELL YOU EXACTLY HOW IT WORKS.
A Fiddler’s contest was held on Saturday evening prior to
the tractor pulling contest.
The fiddlers contest was a highlight of this show. It was well
attended and extremely well conducted.
These contestants are FIDDLERS of ability. Smooth, sweet violin
music, was received with wild acclaim. I was spell-bound by the
sounds. These people are indeed ‘My kind of people’. I was
sorry when the contestants had finished.
If they have a Fiddler’s contest next year, we’ll be
there and I hope there are twice as many contestants.
Circumstances made it necessary for Wanda and I to leave the
show after the Fiddler contest, so we missed the tractor pull which
followed. We returned on Sunday and this tractor pull was still
being discussed by some of the show exhibitors and spectators
returning for a second or third day of the show.
I have these statements to make in closing:
Earlene and the Schafers should talk the Kneppers into letting
them take this show one time in the future.
Elmer Schafer would enjoy discussions with Myrl Hix, and create
a stir with his own fine models.
Joe Fahnestock would like to record the fiddler’s
Ted Young and Frank Warnock would enjoy the models at this show,
and add some excitement with their models.