June 2012

The Wheels are Turning

By Paul Harvey

Yes, the wheels of progress are certainly turning for the museum this Spring.  With the help of a superb volunteer group and the very nice weather, so much has been done.  Our June Show will be the 14th, 15th and 16th and we hope the visitor will find many new and interesting displays as well as progress on the existing facilities.  There always seems so much to get done before a show and it is falling in place very nicely. Our two new buildings, Friends Exhibition Hall and Pat's Place, both located near the Snow building, have made exceptional progress and will present new items not before seen here.  This article will give the reader a pictorial tour of some of the happenings this Spring.

Our featured engines this year will be those built in the state of Ohio with a special feature of the 125th anniversary of the Foos engine.  We already have a list of over 230 engine makers from Ohio.  Some were very large and produced thousands in their duration but only a few of those manufacturers exist today making modern products.  However,  most who tried the trade made only a few, or even just a prototype, before being swallowed up by the intense competition.  It is interesting to reflect on this list and consider the industrial ingenuity and creativeness 100 years ago!  This list will be posted on the grounds for all to see.  The museum has a fine collection of engines that were built in Ohio and our Expo building's center hall will be dedicated to special ones that need inside display.  Many more will be shown by the many exhibitors in the display fields.  This promises to be a grand event.

Our tour will start with Photo 1 showing the installation of the air and gas piping in the Friends Exhibition Hall.  The compressed air is used for starting the larger engines that can not be hand cranked and the natural gas is the fuel.  The crew placed the piping overhead to be away from possible damage.  This has been completed as has the underground pipes to provide cooling water to the engines.  The building is now ready for use and many new engines have been installed and most will be very rare and unusual. Some will be operating to the visitors delight. 

Photo 2 shows the ladies at the gift shop cleaning the walls and shelving and preparing to place the new items.  Or perhaps just taking a break to pose for the photo!  Everything there will feature the Ohio theme and these include the tee shirts in all colors and sizes.  On your visit, please visit the gift shop to see the new items and say "hello" to the crew. 

Photo 3 is the engine featured on all our advertising literature this year.  Displayed in the Susong Building, it is an Underwood made in Upper Sandusky and the only one known to exist.  It has been restored to beautiful operating condition and must be seen on your visit.  This engine was located on Catawba Island in Sandusky Bay of Lake Erie and recovered in the 1960s.  Although not completely clear, the Underwood was probably the forerunner of the Ohio Engine which was built in Sandusky.

Continuing our tour, we next go to the Lillibridge Station with Photo 4.  This shows progress on the installation of the 50 hp Miller engine-compressor combination.  The crew is installing the starting air and fuel gas piping and the engine is seen in the foreground.  This engine is actually a 50 hp Miller built in Springfield with extended frame to accept an air compressor cylinder between the engine cylinder and the flywheels.  It is the only one known and a most unique design.  This unit eliminated the need for a belt and a separate compressor by placing both the engine and compressor into one.  It originally supplied compressed air to pump water wells to supply the village of Scio, Ohio as well as the steam engines of the railroad which ran through the town.  The Lillibridge Station also houses two other unique Millers;  the 300 hp quad four and the  80 hp single. 

Photo 5 illustrates progress on a cold day.  The frame of the 65 hp DeLaVergne is being unloaded from the truck by the Lorain crane and placed on the timber foundation.  Next, the flywheels and crank shaft have to be installed and it will be displayed in Pat's Place, our second new building.  The load that seems to be floating actually weighs about 4 tons!   This engine originally pumped crude oil at the Buckeye Pipe Line's Black Run Station.  The DeLaVergne was built in New York City, not Ohio, but is a beautiful and historically interesting addition to the museum's collection.

Traveling back across the museum grounds to the food court for Photo 6, we see the new windmill being completed.  Every museum needs a windmill and this one will actually operate a hand pump to circulate water from an underground tank and back again.  It is so very peaceful to watch the 8 foot diameter blades spin in a breeze and the tail to faithfully follow the direction of the wind.  The mill is a  Flint and Walling Star 26, made in Kendallville, Ind. in 1926 and the tower is a faithful reproduction.  The blades and tail are made from cypress.  This is historically important as it is the first enclosed mechanism, self-oiling model built.  Earlier models required climbing the tower weekly to oil the open gears and bearings.  Enjoy while eating your lunch from one of our food vendors during the show. 

Photo 7 shows the arrival of the very rare Hall-Scott engine.  This firm is usually thought of as a builder of high class marine and truck engines during its 48 years of existence.  For WW1, they built very successful aircraft engines.  But their first product was huge multi-cylinder engines for railway motor cars.  These were built from 1909 to 1917 and were used in self propelled railway coaches very similar to the Hoodlebug that ran locally.  Twenty three of these units were built and this one was originally displayed in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  One other is known to exist in California. It is very ornate with a fine finish of all parts and much brass work.  It is now displayed in the Friends Exhibition Hall and must be seen on your visit. 

Not all the museum does is engine oriented, and Photo 8 proves that.  Twelve of our members attended an American Heart Association CPR class provided for them at the Conference Center of  Brookville Hospital.  We try to increase visitor safety and these members are now trained in adult and infant CPR as well as Heimlich maneuver and AED use.  We hope that their new skills will never be needed.

Back on museum grounds, we next visit the Coolspring Municipal Works building for Photo 9.  This little building located north of the Lillibridge Station has long been neglected but now is showing progress.  It is meant to depict what a small village or large estate might need for electric, water and telephone service.  It now includes all appropriate equipment and is having the pipe work completed.  It contains some very unique and interesting engines and a visit will be rewarding.  The center engine is a 4 hp vertical Fairbanks-Morse model T with direct connected generator and this will provide lights to the building.  The control panel board can be seen in the foreground.

Finally, Photo 10 shows the first piece being installed into Pat's Place, our second new building.  Already the underground cooling water pipes have been installed and the floor leveled with gravel.  Our old Pettibone loader is placing the National Transit suction pump that originally operated at Canoe Station near Knox, PA.  Now the Model 4 Klein engine that will drive it by flat belt has been installed as well as five other engines.  Pat's Place is located just north of the Snow building and should be seen for new and unusual engines and equipment.  Several of the significant engines from the collection of the late John Wilcox will reside here.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed these glimpses of progress at the museum.  Much more has been done but there is just no space to include everything.  If you haven't attended for a few years, I think that you will be impressed.  Our big show is June 14, 15, and 16.  That's a Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  There are 14 museum buildings and their engines will be operating! The display fields will be packed with exhibitors, many featuring Ohio built engines, as well as the flea market.  There will be plenty of good food and indoor restrooms.  Of course, the home made ice cream and roasted peanuts all powered by gas engines for you to savor.  Come and enjoy the smoke, oil and noise of the engines.  That's all part of the show. For more information, please call 814-849-6883.  See you then!!


Photo 1: Installing piping in the Friends Exhibition Hall

Photo 2: Readying the gift shop

Photo 3: Underwood engine

Photo 4: Installation of the 50 hp Miller

Photo 5: Unloading the 65 hp De La Vergne

Photo 6: Flint and Walling windmill

Photo 7: Hall-Scott engine

Photo 8: Museum members attend CPR class

Photo 9: Coolspring Municipal Works display

Photo 10: Installing National Transit pump in Pat's Place


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