5875 N. 210 W, RR#1
Howe, Indiana 46746
Here it is the first part of August, and I wonder where this summer has gone so quickly. So far this year I've managed to get to four good engine shows and, unlike 1990, the weather has been perfect at all of them.
I reside in Arizona part of the time and in January, just by chance, I got wind of an engine show at Welton, Arizona, about thirty miles east of Yuma. I pulled out of Phoenix right away, and within a couple of hours found myself out on the desert in the vast Mohawk Valley in western Arizona's cattle and cotton country.
It was a beautiful 75 degree day to enjoy the Wellton-Mohawk Tractor Rodeo. It is kind of hard to imagine threshing grain on the 19th of January, but Buster Brown with his 50 horse Case steamer belted to a separator, were doing just that. Buster lives just down the road and has a fine collection of tractors and engines. Didn't take long to get acquainted, and there was plenty to see and do at this fine little one day show. There were steam engines, hot air engines (lots of hot air in this country), old tractors, gas engines and antique cars. The 4-H and FFA kids put on a tractor rodeo and also furnished the eats, good old Western style barbecue.
I had to return to my Indiana home early this year and missed one of my favorite shows at Pawnee, Oklahoma. Usually I make it to the great Oklahoma show on my way back home from Phoenix each year, but it wasn't possible this year. In June I got to the Kalamazoo, Michigan show and the temperature was about 25 degrees hotter than the Arizona show, but the free watermelon cut on the buzz saw was nice and cool.
Then later that month it was on to Wauseon, Ohio to the great 47th National Threshers Reunion. This granddaddy of all engine shows was as fine as ever. The other two previously mentioned shows were also real nice in their own ways and I was able to spend three or four hours at each, but at the N.T.A. I spent three days.
A few weeks ago we finished up the tenth annual North East Indiana Steam and Gas Engine Show at LaGrange, Indiana, my home show, where I am an active member and exhibit my own stuff. Our ten year old organization appears to have put on another very successful show. The thermometer and the crowds were way up there every day but we were also blessed with a badly needed little shower on Sunday morning just after the services that sure helped to lay the dust.
The little rain didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirit, as the parade at 3 p.m. had nearly all the units of the previous daily parades. This year the North East Indiana club featured the Rumely line of equipment, and what a tremendous turnout we had. There were twenty eight Oil Pulls and big Rumely tractors, including a rare Rumely Gas Pull, and the smaller Do-All tractors. Other working Rumely exhibits included a separator, new in 1937, with unique Rumely as well as Allis-Chalmers factory lettering. John Weaver of Middlebury, Indiana said his father bought this unit after Rumely was sold out to A-C, and that accounts for the names of the different companies on different parts of the machine. John and his wife Mary, (our head gate keeper), also had their two Oil Pulls there, and John also set up his own saw mill (our third at this year's show) to be used strictly by Rumely tractors and Pulls. Now I am not much of an Oil Pull person, but I've got to tell you that single cylinder, 15-30 model F of Rick Hornings, from Gallion, Ohio, really sounded interesting biting into those big logs on John Weaver's mill. Larry Palmer, son Doug, and the rest of the family displayed an Advance Rumely corn shredder. Larry is one of our directors.
Mr. Paul M. Rumely, great grandson of Meinrad Rumely, founder of the Rumely Company of LaPorte, Indiana. Rumely is pictured with a scale Rumely owned by Wm. VanderMaas of Howe, Indiana, at the 1991 North East Indiana Steam & Gas Engine Show held at LaGrange.
Rumely and related steam traction engines present included: Ray Wenger's 22 horse AR Universal, Larry Lewallen's 20 Universal, and director Dave Butler's 'new' 25 horse Universal. Other engines of this line included: Bill Kennedy's 16 horse Advance, #13756; a 1918 16-48 M Rumely owned by Norm Stevens of Bellevue, Michigan and a big 22 horse Gaar Scott, owned by John Schrock of Mason, Michigan. Rumely later acquired Gaar-Scott and Company. Among the half scale models were Butch Vollmar's Advance and my own half scale Rumely. The Rumely exhibit also consisted of a large tent with many nice displays inside.
One of the real nice things connected with the featured Rumely line was a visit for several days of Mr. Paul M. Rumely of New York City, great-grandson of Meinrad Rumely, who started this one time, great company back in 1854. Paul is a very friendly chap and likes to visit with everyone about the triumphs and trials of his family. Paul grew up over in nearby LaPorte, home of the Rumely family and business. On Saturday of the show we were all additionally honored with a visit by Paul's brother, Peter, from South Bend. Director Jerry Wolgamood, in charge of our club's feature tractor yearly exhibit, did a fine job this year with the Rumely line, as well he should have. Jerry has a pretty nice Oil Pull of his own. But it wasn't all Rumelys at our North East Indiana show. Club president Jim Eberly commented, 'We had so many steam tractions that the area provided for them actually became overcrowded.'
Bob Laughlin, 'Sparkplug' of the North East Indiana show and his 20 HP Jumbo. The engine, which was new in 1931, was one of the last traction engines manufactured at Harrison Machine Works in Belleville, Illinois.
These mammoths included: Graham Sellers' 30 horse Russell; David Headly's 1906 Sawyer-Massey, Bob Laughlins' 20 HP Harrison Jumbo, Jim Haley's half scale Case, Ancil Wattlis 1987 'Wattles' engine and Butch and Bill Vollmar's half scale Advance with their half scale saw mill. These three little engines sawed a lot of lumber at the show this year. Mr. John Stock well of Colon, Michigan, attended this year's show again; John and Mr. Lampe, also of Colon, built my second engine that I showed this year my unique return flue, double, Lampe & Stockwell. Until I restored this engine in 1989 it had not been shown for over thirty years. Last year John rode in the parade with me on 'our' engine and the announcer made special mention and recognition of it. I learned this year what many engine men have told me: it is very difficult to show two engines at the same time without any help. My helper, Henry Reynolds, from Challis, Idaho, couldn't make it this year, but I finally solved this problem by only firing up one at a time. The most outstanding engine featured this year, I think, was that of Mr. Ed Hurd of Byron, Michigan. Ed recently acquired a 30 horse, under-mounted Avery. Its size and 'factory fresh' appearance was a real show stopper. What a fine looking engine. Ed and his Avery, just a few weeks before, won the coveted Leroy Blaker Memorial 'Best Restored Engine' award at the National Threshers Show at Wauseon, Ohio. Speaking of the N.T.A. show, its president, Marvin Broadbeck, and family brought a British Foden steam truck to our show. This show piece is very unusual and expertly detailed and is a real crowd pleaser. The Broadbeck family shows this truck for the owner (of Dominos Pizza).
The focal point of the North East Indiana show, without a doubt, is the one year old Laughlin Building, named in honor of the 'sparkplug' of our club, Mr. Robert Laughlin. Bob's untiring efforts make our show the success it has become. Bob is our Number One Detail Man. He supervises the plowing of our wheat land right on the showground's; (the LaGrange County 4-H Fair Grounds), sees to the planting and care of the crop and around the 4th of July each year, he gets the boys out to help bind and shock the wheat and later get it loaded on the old wagon racks ready for threshing.
30 HP undermounted Avery owned by Mr. Ed Hurd, who was the winner of the 1991 National Threshers Association's coveted Leroy Blaker Award for Best Restored Engine, at Wauseon, Ohio. The engine was also shown at N. E. Indiana.
This year's threshing was done by Weaver's Rumely/Allis Chalmers and Herb Swarm's Baker separator, and the straw was baled by Duane Sams and crew for use at the upcoming 4-H fair. Messrs. Laughlin and Swarm also own the big sawmill housed inside the Laughlin building, where Herb is head sawyer. This sawmill is powered by the gigantic 125 HP Erie stationary engine and Broderick boiler, each located inside the building. Club vice president Larry Schrock sees to the engineer and fireman's duties for the 'mighty Erie.'' The design of our building easily permits the belting up of traction engines and/or tractors outside to also power up the mill. Grandstand seats are provided outside, (building has removable sides), as well as inside, out of the hot sun and bad weather. Mr. Laughlin's planning and design of this building is outstanding and we've received many favorable comments on it. After the annual show the building is used for storage of our equipment and next year's firewood. At the show Bob Laughlin is always very busy, but has time to help others, and every day he gets his fine old Harrison Jumbo engine in the parade and takes his turn plowing with it too. Bob's Jumbo was one of the last production steam traction engines manufactured in this country and was purchased new in 1931.
The North East Indiana show lives up to our club pledge, 'to preserve our heritage in machinery of America's past,' in the many other displays, such as over 160 tractors, over 200 gas engines, and over 60 other mechanical displays including old cars and trucks. Another large building contains a working display of various arts and crafts. Like most shows, we have a market place and ample food and goodie vendors, with area law enforcement people (FOP) operating the big restaurant, and 4-H kids with food and dairy stands too. On Saturday, members of the Amish faith turned out in force, under a large shade tree, to make homemade ice cream with donations and proceeds being given to two area families who were burned out. Evening entertainment is provided free of charge with music and dancing in the fair show arena followed by a spectacular spark show with John Schrock and Bill Kennedy's Gaar-Scott and Advance engines belted to a couple of Baker fans.
I think the 1991 event will be remembered by all who attended and a big bunch of 'Hoosier Hospitality' awaits those who can make it to the show next year. Watch for new show dates in 1992 as a conflict with state 4-H fairs has developed and, since we share our show site with them, our show will be a couple of weeks later. Running two engines at this year's show kept me kind of busy and I have, no doubt, left out some other interesting things about this show and have failed to mention other people who worked real hard. I trust you will accept my apology.