3, Komaka, Ontario, Canada
As long as I can remember dad has always had a few engines around the place. One farm we lived on (rented) had no hydro, so dad bought a 32 volt Delco light plant for $20.00 and by using old car batteries we had lights in the house and barn. After buying a place with hydro, dad sold the Delco and two more light plants and three gas engines for $24.00.
Dad's enginitis virus lay dormant until 1970 when he suffered a severe attack while at a farm sale. (I brought the engine home for him next day.) Since then the attacks have gotten rarse and are more frequent. I think if one took count there are well over 100 puff and bangers around his place; this disease can get very serious. Going back to 1972, Ken Recheirt, who is a sales representative for a local oil company, stopped in at dad's to check out his furnace. In seeing the engines, he suggested starting a club in Ilderton.
Early in 1975 the Ilderton Fair board made a deal with dad to put on an Antique Engine and Equipment Display at the Fall Fair. The restoring really got going in earnest. The last six weeks before the fair, dad was in his shop from 5:00 A.M. till 11:00 P.M. every day with only time out for meals and farm chores.
Working right along with him was Nelson Ferguson of Melrose (the gents have worked together all their lives--they seem to know what the other is thinking). Nelson has a 2 cylinder Eagle tractor fully restored along with an 8 HP Goold Shapiey on trucks, plus McCormick Deerings, Londons Gilson and Fairbanks. Nelson is a born mechanic who can fix anything that runs and run anything that is fixed.
Fair Day arrived bright and clear; several trips were made with our float to get all the 'goodies' to the grounds. A neighbor took a load of his engines on his wagon and two other friends showed up with their model steam engines. The show was a success. The seed which Ken had planted was taking root!
About the middle of February 1976, Dan, Ken Recheirt and a neighbor, Fred Varley, got together and talked over the idea of forming a club. They sent out 35 post cards and had 27 out to their first meeting. The Tri-County Heritage Club was formed.
While dad and Nelson were getting ready for the 1978 show, Nelson ran into 'ticker' trouble and landed in the hospital for three weeks. (He is okay now.) Friends and neighbors pitched in and I like to think dad's display was a success. He had 15 antique restored washing machines, even one wooden tub water-powered washer operating off a Delco light water pressure system, 1915 model fully restored, which in turn got its power from a Linderman 32 Volt plant manufactured in the 1920s.
He also had his entrance display of lighted buggy wheels which were turned by a Fuller and Johnson pump Jack engine; his wall bell collection; 1878 Smalley enslige cutter; an A. W. Gray grain separator made in Vermont in 1847; as well as many makes of gas engines--he displayed approximately 65 articles.
The seed that was sown in 1972 is rapidly growing into a Heritage Tree with more branches every year.
I will close with a word of warning. If you happen to meet dad at the shows, shake hands with him. He is a hopeless case, he has joined the O.E.A. (Old Engines Anonymous). There is no known cure.