There comes a time, every once in a while, that
it is good to get away for a few days and leave all the work behind.
A friend of mine always called it, "Getting Outta Dodge."
Quite literally it means getting away from everyday life and
doing something different. Some
of our museum friends have a small but enjoyable show in central
Massachussets and have wanted me to visit them.
This sounded very enticing!
So in the middle of September, with bright blue Autumn weather, I
decided to take a long weekend and visit
friends in New England,
advertise our museum, and see some unusual equipment.
And so, this month's story begins.
The journey took me across
Southern New York on I-84. I was
aware that Orange County Choppers was near the
NY exit and, being the halfway point, this seemed to be a
good stop. This establishment has
been made famous by the TV show, American Choppers.
Although this is not what Coolspring is about, it sounded like an
interesting adventure. The
showroom and store was very impressive and most interesting was the Fire
Bike. Please see
This machine was put together from parts coming from the
entire country and was dedicated to the 343 firefighters who lost their
lives in the
Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy. Note
all the fire company patches, caps, and helmets that adorn this
After filling the fuel tank, I was back on the
road arriving in
MA about .
I stopped by to say hello to Bob and Steve Upham who were hosting
the show beginning the next morning.
They have a wonderful small museum, The Whately Engine Museum,
that is so reminiscent of Coolspring years ago. It is built on their
farm. After so many years of invitations, they were glad that I made the
journey. Whately is a picturesque
New England town in a very rural area of MA.
Later after a great meal at Whately Inn I was happy to turn in
for the day.
Back to the
Museum the next morning in absolutely beautiful weather.
Photo 2 shows the museum
grounds and their big engine building, a converted horse barn.
visitors and exhibitors were already there preparing their engines for
the day. It was a happy site to
wander about and see exhibitors setting up, the boiler being fired with
wood with the aroma of smoke, and the engines awakening.
And, best of all, it wasn't a Coolspring Show so I could just
watch and enjoy!
shows one of the hosts, Bob Upham, oiling a steam
engine that is running on live steam.
It is a Kendall & Roberts made in
MA. They have a great live steam exhibit with full size
engines as well as models operating. Bob
and his son, Steve, are always at Coolspring operating the engines in
our Expo building. In
Photo 4 we see shingles
being made with an ancient shingle mill powered by a stationary steam
engine and boiler. This engine is
an A. Burlingame made in
MA. The shavings
and waste were being carried back to the boiler for fuel.
Walking through the exhibitors, I found this
beautiful model of an 1895 Mery Engine, built in
Photo 5. The Mery was not
very successful, but it was a double-acting, six-cycle engine, the only
one of this type. This model
actually runs. On the other side
of the grounds, I found Steve Upham demonstrating the power wood
Photo 6. This machine,
powered by a gas engine has a large heavy pulley on top that operates a
rapidly reciprocating axe head.
One very gingerly places the block of wood on the table and it is
instantly split. It is essential
that the wood is held by the sides. Steve does this very well as he
still has all his fingers!
shows Chris and Justin tuning up the 40 hp twin-cylinder vertical Bruce-Macbeth engine.
In a few hours, they had it singing a great song and running so
smoothly. This engine came from
the collection of the late Dr. John Wilcox and has found a great home
here for all to appreciate. It
was originally installed at the Cleveland Gasket Company plant in
Ohio where it was belted to a direct current generator to
Incidentally, Bruce-Macbeth was located in
Cleveland as well. In
Photo 8 we see a pair of
White and Middleton gas engines that were built in
MD. These engines
have very graceful lines and a vertical governor head making the
appearance very pleasing. The
small one is a 4 hp and the larger is an 11 hp.
These were running faultlessly.
The next day, after stopping by the
Museum to bid all good-bye, I traveled on to
Connecticut to visit the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association
grounds and exhibits. Known as
CAMA, there is something for everyone here.
There is a fantastic large steam engine building with running
machines and a mining building.
Many great gas engines are also here as well as an authentic oil field
display. They have a 36 inch
railway with a vintage steam locomotive from
Hawaii, and just erected a working sawmill.
There is also a large construction equipment display with working
Photo 9 shows a circa 1928
Hanson Shovel using a McCormick-Deering power unit.
They have two shows a year which one can find on the CAMA website
and it is well worth seeing.
The next day, I traveled the short distance to
CT to visit Dudley Diebold and his wonderful tractor
collection at the Living History Farm.
over 120 great tractors housed in three building and all restored and
operational. This is not the
usual collection of farm tractors but an extensive line of big western
tractors that farmed the great plains in the early 1900s.
Photo 10 shows his big Reeves and some are even bigger.
What an experience. There
were so many that I had not heard of and so many different mechanisms.
By mid afternoon, I was bidding
Dudley good bye and returning to Coolspring.
A wonderful way to get outta Dodge for a weekend!
By the time this is read,
Museum's Fall Show will be history and everything will be
drained and winterized until the spring of 2013.
The Fall Show report will be the topic of the December issue of
The Flywheel. However, during the
winter, visitation and tours can be arranged by prior contact.
Please call 814-849-6883 for information.
The following is our schedule for 2013:
April 20 & 21 - Open
May 18 & 19 - Open
June 13, 14, & 15 -
Big Show and Expo
July 20 & 21 -
History Day and Truck Show
August 17 & 18 -
September 21 & 22 -
October 17, 18, & 19
- Fall Show and Swap Meet
Please follow this
publication for monthly articles of The Flywheel and Coolspring Power Museum news. See
The Fire Bike at Orange County Choppers
Photo 2: Morning at the show grounds
Bob Upham with Kendall & Roberts engine
Photo 4: Making shingles with steam power
Model of an 1895 Mery engine
Photo 6: Steve Upham splitting wood
Chris and Justin with the 40 hp twin-cylinder vertical Bruce-Macbeth