December 2011

Our Fall Show: Another Wet One!

By Paul Harvey

It would be the desire of the museum that our shows are known for many wonderful engines and equipment displays and I think that is fulfilled.  But it also seems that everyone associates Coolspring with rain, cold and mud.  And this Fall was no exception!!  I am quite used to hearing, “Oh well, it's Coolspring and we are going to have a good time anyway.”  Working at the gate, I am accustomed to seeing people in boots and rain gear but still smiling anticipating the things that they will see.  And so it was this year.

The week before the show was so sunny and warm and the grounds were dry.  But as the show opened on Thursday, so did the rain.  We did have a break on Friday and the evening was concluded with a beautiful rainbow.  But then Saturday the cold wet weather returned.  With dampened spirits (and bodies), the exhibitors and flea marketers left early to avoid getting stuck in the mud.  However, the show was a success with the museum volunteers running so many engines inside the buildings.  Some engines were brought to life that had not run in many years and that delighted everyone. There was a very pleasant Friday evening run with all the main buildings crowded with people and so much operating.  The heat radiating from the operating machines warmed the buildings and the spirits of all who attended and a very happy atmosphere prevailed.

Photo 1 goes back to the Sunday prior to the show with the arrival of Doug and Justin and the 10 hp Bessemer that they restored for the museum.  This engine has been part of the collection for over 35 years but sat neglected because of its poor and homely condition.  They took it home after the June show and returned with a jewel.  They found that much of the original paint remained, cleaned and polished all the bright work, rebuilt many parts, and had it in excellent operating condition.  All the lubricators and brass work is original and has Bessemer inscribed on it. With so much of the original dark green paint remaining it now looks like it just came from the showroom floor. It had a place of honor in front of the big Otto and ran continuously to the delight of all.  Bessemer was a very large manufacturer of quality oil field engines and this example shows all the original parts and options.  Many thanks for a job well done!

Photo 2 is a memorial to a passed friend.  Dedicated museum volunteer and past board member, Clair Exley passed away in his small trailer home here on the grounds a few days before the show.  The shock of this was numbing to all of us and made it so difficult to continue the show.  Clair was well known in the Lillibridge Station as an engineer for the 300 hp Miller.  He had just told the crew there that this would be his last show running the Miller and he was going “up on the hill."  He meant that he would be the engineer for the 600 hp Snow, an engine that he had put so much work into.  He recalled when, as a boy, he lived near to the Van Station of the then United Natural Gas Co. and could go to sleep listening to the Snows run there.  It was his dream to again hear that exhaust music and indeed engineer a Snow.   I guess Clair is up on the BIG hill now and perhaps again listening to those long gone Snows from Van.  And I’m sure his spirit will be here when his Snow at Coolspring starts for the first time next year.  We all miss you, Clair.

Photo 3 shows the grounds with a good turnout on Friday afternoon, despite the rain.  Jake and Teddy, our field coordinators kept busy guiding exhibitors and vendors to their locations and our guests seemed happy to walk the area avoiding the puddles.  When the sun peeped out a bit, the colored leaves lit up brilliantly.  Then the evening was rewarded with a beautiful double rainbow.

Photo 4 is Rob Northey operating the 175 hp Otto and Deane pump for our guests Friday evening.  There is always a special Friday evening engine run and this year it was a great success with so many engines in motion.  With the cooler damp weather, visitors flocked to the buildings to enjoy the show and the warmth created by the operating equipment.  Nate Smith had the two-cylinder 60 hp Westinghouse purring and this has sat idle for many years.  With so many people chatting and exchanging ideas, I found it just fascinating to sit on a bench and watch.  Our engineers provided great shows in both the Power Tech Building and the Power House simultaneously. 

Photo 5 shows some unexpected visitors on Saturday afternoon.  This is the Evans family posed in front of Roy Pasini’s 20 hp Evans gas engine.  The three great grandchildren of Evan Evans, designer and manufacturer of the Evans engines, paid the museum a visit.  They are, from left to right, Nancy Slezak, Bob Scott, and Ruth Scott, all still from Butler, Pa.  The Evans engine built in Butler, Pa. has long been a museum favorite and we have many unusual examples.  Mr. Evans saw the need for a durable and simple engine for oil field use and introduced his first model about 1900.  At that time, Butler was a part of the oil boom that was slowly moving Southward, and plenty of cheap but dependable power was needed very quickly.  He continued to build engines until 1918 when both war needs and a declining market forced the company to stop production.  Evans finally closed its doors in 1948 after 30 more years of supplying parts and service.  The Evans engine was a simple four-cycle, throttle governor machine that was durable, easy to repair, and dependable.  One hundred years later, there are still several Evans running in 24-7 service dependable pumping a few barrels of crude oil from their wells.  This is the only engine that can boast this kind of service. 

I have titled Photo 6 “steady as she goes”!  At the Friday evening engine run, someone placed some coins on edge on the 35 hp twin Bessemer while it was running and they stood there all evening.  This is unusual for any engine to run so smoothly, but the Bessemer is a two-cylinder, two-cycle engine, both meaning rough running with vibrations that would knock down the fattest quarter.  This engine, restored by Doug and Justin last year runs long hours for the visitors but so smoothly that the coins did not even vibrate a bit.  Try this trick next time you are close to an old gas engine and see how long that penny stays upright.  You will be surprised!!  Next time you are visiting here try the penny on the Bessemer and it will be there when you return.  Enjoy!

Photo 7 is our diligent and brave Gatekeepers.  Taken Saturday morning, Marilyn Harvey and Clair McKinstry endure the elements to open the gate at 7 am.  It is dark and cold at that time but being wet yet poses many other problems.  It is difficult to count out soggy dollar bills to make change among other problems.  Gate help also includes Paul Harvey, Mark Turnbull, John Mott as well as others.  Many thanks to all who help!

Photo 8 shows a cold Mac Dufton and his antique Franklin automobile as he enters the gate on Saturday.  Mac always displays his jewel here and endured two hours of cold weather to drive from Clearfield, Pa to again attend the show.  Franklin was famous for its air cooled six-cylinder engine and high quality coachwork and as soon as he parked he had the hood open and was explaining the attributes of his car.  He always draws a crowd and we thank him for attending.  Although Coolspring is not a car show, anyone arriving in an antique vehicle gets a special parking place to display it and free admission.  It is all part of our show here to exhibit interesting gas engine powered equipment. 

Photo 9 is a warm end to a great show.  After all the events are over and winterization has started, how is it better to have the crew relax and enjoy a pot of hot stew with some engines in the background.  The photo shows Kevin Kusel dishing out the beef stew.  Although this is not a public event, anyone helping with the show is invited to attend and enjoy.  It is a great time to talk about the next year and all the plans needed. 

The last photo, Photo 10, is Sunday after the show and shows oil producer Tom Miller and the 40 hp Bessemer engine and pumping power that he donated to be rebuilt at the museum.  This is one of the largest band wheel powers still in existence and was built by Tom’s grandfather.  He arrived with four truckloads of mechanical parts as well as dismantled building and they have been stored for re-erection next year.  This band wheel pumping power is actually a 24 foot horizontal steel wheel that a flat bed runs around and is driven from the engine.  The engine pulley to the 24 foot wheel makes the necessary reduction to pump many wells by reciprocating rod  lines and pump jacks.  The entire building as well as the equipment will be re-erected here at Coolspring to display this unique way to pump oil wells.  When in operation this will be one of two display bandwheel powers in Pennsylvania and the other is much smaller.  We thank Tom for his preservation efforts and making this possible to the museum. 

Coolspring Power Museum is now closed for the winter and will reopen April 21 and 22, 2012.  But the work still continues as we progress on the many projects here.  Our volunteers never quit and now the progress on the 600 hp Snow continues.  As the snow will stop outside projects, there is much work to be done inside such as making and restoring parts, as well as documentation and writing.  Special visits can still be scheduled and please contact the museum for details.  

For 2012, we will feature Engines Built in Ohio as well as the 125th Anniversary of Foos.  It looks like an exciting year with a double header for the show.  There will be a great presentation on Foos at the Oliver Twp. Fire Hall the Friday evening of the show.  If you have an Ohio built engine, shine it up and bring it.  If not, just attend the show and enjoy.  For more information, please call 814-849-6883.  See you then!

Photo 1: Doug and Justin and the restored 10 hp Bessemer

Photo 2: Memorial to Clair Exley

Photo 3: Good turnout despite the rain

Photo 4: Rob Northey operating the 175 hp Otto and Deane pump

Photo 5: Evans family with Roy Pasini’s 20 hp Evans gas engine

Photo 6: Steady as she goes!

Photo 7: The "Gatekeepers"

Photo 8: Mac Dufton and his antique Franklin

Photo 9: Kevin Kusel dishing out the beef stew

Photo 10: Tom Miller and the 40 hp Bessemer engine and pumping power


Copyright © 2018 by Coolspring Power Museum