Courtesy of Sylvester Fosdick, R. R. 4, Pontiac, Illinois 61764 My 1894 Nichols and Shepherd Engine and 1924 Separator and load of bundles that we left sit in our yard summer of 1966 just to look at while we were getting ready for our Threshing Bee.
R. 4, Elwood Indiana
No doubt your readers are anxious to know how the group from the Elwood Historical Club of Elwood, Indiana, got along on their tour to Britain. As we arrived home on July 5, it was too late to give the report for the September-October issue.
We left New York on the evening of June 20 and arrived at Prestwick, Scotland, the next morning, June 21, Our special coach met us at the airport and in a few miles we were visiting the birthplace of Robbie Burns at Ayr. From there we toured through the beautiful midlands of Scotland and spent the rest of the day as guests of the 'Scottish Royal Highland Fair' held each year at Ingles ton. That night we were guests of the North British Hotel on Princess Street, Edinburgh.
I will not go into too much detail of our trip until we get to the Steam Fair and Engine Rally, but we spent two nights in Edinburgh, three nights at Aviemore, beyond Royal Deeside visited Inverness and Culloden Moor Lock Ness (did not see the monster) and spent two wonderful days in Glasgow.
We flew from Glasgow to London by B.E.A. where we spent 6 nights at Mount Royal Hotel near Hyde Park. On Thursday a full day tour of London and on Friday a full day tour of Windsor Castle, Stokes Poges, Hampton Court, Eton College. Again space will not permit the details.
Well, on Saturday morning at 8 A.M. our special coach met us at our hotel and we were on our way to the Cropredy Steam Fair and Engine Rally at Banbury, which is about 50 miles northwest of London. Our day's tour included the Engine Rally, Stratford upon Avon, the 'Shakespeare Country' and beautiful Old Warwick Castle.
We arrived at the show grounds before the official opening and were greeted by J. Russell, Esq. of Chacombe Nr. Banbury. At eleven o'clock, the Earl and Countess of Longford were conveyed to the speaker's stand in a 1902 Turner-Weiss Steam Car. The Countess opened the show with a wonderful speech entitled 'The Lure of Steam'.
Mr. Harold Fleish of Eaton, Ohio, and I were invited to the speaker's platform by Mr. J. Russell and it was made known to the crowd that we were representing the many steam shows in America at their Rally. We had it made for the rest of the day. We never before met so many friendly people.
Steam engines have always fascinated. Their very size, ponderous majesty and exposed moving parts have seemed to endow them with an almost human personality. Proof of this is expressed in the naming of so many engines and lovely names, too, like 'Quo Vadis', 'Lord of the Isles', 'Pandora', 'Rip Van Winkle', and so on.
Willing beasts of burden the majority of these engines now in preservation have seen 50 years of real hard service and yet, by the labors of their enthusiastic owners, they stand before us today almost as good as the day they were turned out of the factory. These forefathers of ours forged that proud tradition and hallmark of quality. It is surely a fine thing that the young people of the 'jet age' can come in the thousands to see and admire and fall under the spell of the wonderful old steam engines.
They had 30 engines under steam and on show, besides a steam engine powered merry-go-round or 'galloping horses' which was built in the 1870's and converted to steam in 1882. The music is provided by a splendid 89 key Gavioli organ which has been completely restored. The steam engine which provides the ride is known as a centre engine.
Also on display were the steam yachts 'Shamrock' and 'Columbia' built in 1900 by Savages of Kings Lym. For more than 60 years these yachts have been traveling mostly in Yorkshire. The yacht boiler also supplies steam to a 46 key Chiappa Organ.
The 30 engines on display were divided into seven categories. First the Agriculture Engine which did the work of the modern tractor. They were fitted with a single cylinder, two speeds and unsprung iron wheels. Second Road Locomotives. These were similar to agricultural engines in size but were used for heavy road haulage and so were fitted with solid rubber tires, sprung wheels and extra water capacity. Third the Showman's Engine which was a decorated version of the road locomotive. A large dynamo was mounted in front of the chimney. Fourth were the tractors which were smaller than the second and third categories. Fifth Steam Rollers; well known to everyone who makes use of the wonderful British roads. Sixth were the Portable Engines, the forerunner of all steam road engines. One of the well restored portable engines on the show here today was almost 100 years old. Last the Centre Engines; these were portable engines fitted with showman's decorations. Two of this type were shown at this show on the steam yachts and the galloping horses.
To end my story I think I should give your readers the entry
list as best I can:
1. Aveling-Porter Roller, Built 1912, Wt. 8 tons, 'Cotswold Star'
2. Marshall Agricultural Engine, Built 1887, Wt. 9 tons
3. Fowler Roller, Built 1927, Wt. 12 tons
4. Foden Wagon, Built 1928, Wt. 6 tons
5. Fowler Show mans Tractor, Built 1917, Wt. 6 tons, 'Firefly'
6. Aveling-Barford Roller, Built 1938, Wt. 10 tons, 'Kimbell'
7. Foster Agricultural Engine, Built 1909, Wt. 9 tons, 'Old Smokie'
8. Sentinel Wagon, Built 1926, Wt. 4 tons
9. Burrell Road Locomotive, Built 1921, Wt. 9 tons, 'St. Brennoch'
10. Ruston Proctor Agricultural Engine, Built 1907, Wt. 10 tons
11. Aveling Barford Roller, Built 1946, Wt. 10 tons
12. Foster Portable Engine, No. 201 Built 1870, Wt. 4 tons, 'Great Tew'
13. Burrell Showman's Engine, Built 1896, Wt. 12 tons, 'Sparkie'
14. Humphries Portable Engine, Built 1890, Wt. 3 tons, 'Rip Van Winkle' This engine was owned by Mr. J. Russell. It was found in a barn where it had been unused for 30 years. 'A lot better than under a tree for 30 years.'
15. Fowler Showman's Engine, Built 1915, Wt. 6 tons, 'Jemime'
16. Foden Engine, Built 1925, Wt. 8 tons, 'Early bird'
17. Foster Agricultural Engine, Built 1936, Wt. 10 tons
18. Fowler Engine, Built 1926, Wt. 13 tons
19. Burrell Showman's Engine, 'Quo Vadis'
20. Fowler Showman's Tractor, Built 1918, Wt. 6 tons
21. Limonaire Organ, 89 keys
22. Walliss Agricultural Engine, Built 1916, Wt. 9 tons, 'Progress'
23. Fowler Tractor, Built 1916, Wt. 6 tons, 'Pandora'
24. Foden Tractor, Built 1928, Wt. 6 tons, 'Pride of Fulham'
25. Aveling-Porter Showman's Tractor, Built 1912, Wt. 5 tons, 'May Queen'
26. Burrell Showman's Engine, Built 1922, Wt. 13 tons, 'Prince of Wales'
27. Burrell Showman's Engine, 'Lord Haig'
28. Garrett Tractor, Built 1924, Wt. 6 tons, 'Patricia'
29. Burrell Showman's Engine, Built 1909, Wt. 12 tons, 'Dreadnought'
30. Burrell Showman's Engine, Built 1920, Wt. 13 tons, 'Queen Mary'
Display No. 32 was a cable plow engine with 80 rods of steel cable on a power operated reel under the boiler. I took several pictures but did not get the age or weight. It appeared to be the largest engine in the show.
Well, this about rounds out the Steam Rally. There were continuous events throughout the day. The grand parade of all engines. Slow race for all engines. Roll the barrel for the rollers. Tug of war, tractor vs gentlemen. Steering test for tractions. Reverse test for Fodens. Balloon bursting event for engines and at 6 o'clock the Grand Finale Parade.
The engines were all beautifully restored, looked better than new. One can see that they take a lot of pride in their hobbies.
We are sending some old copies of the 'Iron Men Album' to friends we met at the show, so you soon ought to be getting more readers in Britain.
We arrived back home safely on July 4. Everyone in our group enjoyed a wonderful trip.