The 1959 Antique Engine and Thresher Show is history and
presents some interesting and worthwhile data. The program
presented had its usual good timing and followed along the intended
The featured events surrounded the main triple threshing exhibit
in the center of the field. This consisted of threshing with Harold
Ottaway’s Avery Yellow-Fellow Thresher, an old style hand feed
machine, and with a model rig. Mr. V. H. Stroud provided the oats
for threshing. The usual thrills and memories of sawmilling were
provided by a s awmill operating almost continuously nearby. The
sawmill was operated during the show by Buck Spencer of Newton,
Kansas, who also did much work for the show weeks before it opened.
He is a great Steam enthusiast and has had many years of experience
in cabs of Santa Fe locomotives.
Around the sides of the main open field were a number of fine
models, steaming about the grounds, giving rides to the children
and attracting the attention of everyone. The models made their
headquarters under the shade of a large tree next to the road
leading about 100 feet to the hill climbing event. Mr. Jack Kaurer
of Wichita was in charge of the model portion of the show. The hill
climbing event took place in a beautiful wooded part of the Ottaway
‘s park at a spot where only 10 days earlier had been a ravine
and lots of trees. The week before, Harold Ottaway provided for a
bulldozer and Amos Rixmann operated it to first clear part of the
area and then build two inclines with different grade angles. Many
yards of earth were moved to build the two inclines approximately
15 feet high vertical distance. The steepest of the two grades was
approximately the same as the standard built-up wooden ones
officially used in this famous event during the first quarter of
the century. The second and adjacent grade had a lesser angle and
any engine with cleats could negotiate it, while the steep one was
used only by Mr. E. C. Macmillan himself. At the top was a large
level area built up for the engines to stand.
Although ‘Big Mac’ was ill about a year ago, he did his
usual SPLENDID job on the incline! Using Harold Otta-way’s 50
Case he performed all the feats, as in years gone by, using this
earthen incline. It is wonderful to see the excellent traction a
good cleated wheel has on packed earth. Mac’s control was
perfect all the time! This performance was a beautiful sight under
the huge trees surrounding the area of the incline.
Mac asked George Jackson of Ft. Scott, Kansas, to take over part
of the time this year and George did a very good job.
Moving around the field a little further toward the headquarters
tent was the Prony Brake set up under a shade tree. This was one of
the finest and most detailed events of the show. Full-scale tests,
including accurate fuel consumption data were conducted. Professor
Luck, head of the Automotive and Diesel Technical School of
Oklahoma State University, and his assistant, Mr. Alvin Sherman,
came to Wichita to conduct these tests. The prony brake had been
modified by using a new airplane tachometer reading 10 to 1 (which
made speed readings extremely accurate) and by adding a water
pickup system, which took out water as fast as an open large type
garden hose could supply it (100 hp plus was maintained with no
overheating condition). The scale used was a large Toledo dial type
model which gave perfect readings.
A full discussion of the data obtained, including power and
torque curves will be covered in a separate article in the
following issue. The results are quite interesting! Mr. A. H. Shear
of Plymouth, Michigan, was on hand to again show his engineering
ability. His performance in the economy tests will be discussed in
the following article.
A bit further around the field was the headquarters tent housing
food, drink and resting facilities. Nearby Mrs. V. H. Stroud,
wearing appropriate dress of the threshing era, played the calliope
serenading the crowd. Prof. V. H. Stroud acted as master of
ceremonies and covered all the events thoroughly. His usual
description of the show was again complete and colorful. Through
his direction on the loudspeaker the various events followed the
Lyman Knapp’s participation did a great deal to make the
show a success. He provided both his 25 Russell and 60 Caterpillar,
which put on an excellent drawbar pulling event. With Lyman on the
Russell and Amos Rixmann on the 60 Caterpillar, an accurately
controlled series of drawbar pulls were made using an official
hydraulic pull meter from a large crawler tractor manufacturer.
Unusually high and interesting pulls were registered. The many
details of this event will be fully discussed in a following issue.
At such time various phases of tractor and engine pulling will be
discussed. Watch the IRON-MEN ALBUM – coming issue!
Concluding this first phase of the report, it must be emphasized
that the 1959 Show in Wichita featured an extremely interesting
program of action events. Nowhere has any show featured such
detailed and accurate action events. Certainly the people enjoy and
appreciate them. It is very gratifying to hear from people far away
as Canada and New Zealand concerning these subjects. (TO BE