Where Has Summer Gone?

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Mr.Robert Laughlin's Jumbo plowing wheat ground, at N. E. Indiana Show in La Grange in 1989.

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.

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