Flywheel logo

August 2015

"The Greatest Show on Earth"

By Paul Harvey

The great June show of the Coolspring Power Museum is now history, but the memories will live forever.  Our Thirtieth Anniversary Show was an  overwhelmingly successful event, with 38 flame ignition engines brought from all over our country, as well as from Canada, to be displayed here.  Over 100 international visitors attended from South Africa, Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom.  See Photo 1.

As I was working the gate Friday afternoon of the show, a gent, leaving for the day, asked me if I knew why the Ringling Brothers Circus went out of business.  I just said, "No."  Beaming, he raised his hand and exclaimed, "Because this is the greatest show on Earth!"  Despite the usual rain and mud,  I think that many of our visitors agreed!  "The show must go on" and so it did.  With so many wonderful engines to see, few seemed to mind the weather. This beautiful rainbow,  Photo 2,  promised its success.

With all the great engines to display for the weekend, the Expo Building and the Preston Foster Hall had to be arranged for the big event.  Amazingly, in such a short time, displays were set up, viewed and appreciated for the show, then loaded again to be taken home.  Photo 3 shows two forklifts unloading and placing engines for display in the Preston Foster Hall.  Our president, Chris Austin, Photo 4, is carefully moving a two horsepower, flame ignition Deutz engine into the display.  It was brought all the way from California!

A memorial service for the late Preston Foster, Photo 5,  was held on Friday afternoon.  Preston's legacy will live long here:  he was our first president,  a board director, and Curator of Collections.  Before a large gathering, his son, Kurt, Photo 6, offers memories of his dad.  In Photo 7, we see Marty Riffle accepting the plaque from Verne Kindschi and the Fuller Johnson organization of Baraboo, Wisconsin.  The new addition to the Susong Building, which doubled its size, is now the Preston Foster Hall.  His vision and hard work made it possible.  Dedicated to Preston, we see the structure in evening sun during the show, Photo 8.

Fantastically, the display arranged in the Preston Foster Hall was very reminiscent of the machinery halls of the expositions held in the late 1800s.  And that was the vintage of the engines we displayed!  It was all here; one could just sit back and let his mind's eye take him back over one hundred years.  Upon entering, one was greeted with a paradise of some of the finest engines in the world, as seen in Photo 9.  The large green engine in the center is the 1867 Otto Langen, on loan from Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association in Kinzers, Pennsylvania. This is the oldest operating gas engine in the AmericasPhoto 10 shows our capable show co-chairman, Wayne Grenning, happily preparing the Otto Langen for a run.

The old expositions always had brightly painted signs, and so did we.  A one half horsepower Crossley, Photo 11, is accompanied by the gala sign detailing the Otto Silent Engine.  In another area, all nine of the Crown engines known to still exist were here and assembled into this display, Photo 12, and all nine ran at the same time.  What a sight!   Nearby, Greg Johnson, from California, smiles behind his inverted Deutz slide valve engine, Photo 13.  He also brought the two horsepower Deutz seen in Photo 4, and has kindly placed both on long term loan to the museum.  They are here for all to enjoy.

Not all flame ignition engines need to be large.  Kieth Monnier brought this display case, Photo 14, with toy engines of the 1880s and 1890s.  A simpler toy engine of the same vintage was the Paradox, Photo 15.  These toys were the "cutting edge" technology for the kids of that time, much as the computers are today.

The Expo Building was also adorned with a magnificent display of the larger engines.  Photo 16 shows the center isle filled with flame ignition and other vintage engines.  A Golden Gate engine, Photo 17, was brought from California to be displayed at this event.

More great engines were found in many other areas across our grounds.  Paul Stoltzfus brought his very rare 25 horsepower twin-cylinder slide valve from the Rough and Tumble museum.  Seen in Photo 18, it is an 1888 Fetu Defize made in Belgium.  This engine and its twin still in Europe are the largest of the slide valve engines existing, and the only two-cylinder ones.  It ran very well. In his trailer by the Power Technology Building, Brian Triebner, from Canada, takes a moment to relax with his Otto Slide Valve engine, Photo 19. On the hill, the Friends Exhibition Hall displayed this magnificent Van Duzen, Photo 20, owned by John Branch and restored by Nate Smith.  It will find its permanent home in the Preston Foster Hall.

The new Bob Himes Ice Cream Shoppe functioned very well, providing everyone with its famous ice cream churned by the New Holland engines.  Photo 21 actually shows Mark Himes chatting a bit about his new arrangement and monorail crane to transport the freezers.  Despite the weather, they had record sales.

CPM's Thirtieth Anniversary Show was a monumental event, with memories that will live forever.  It will never be equaled.  Tremendous effort from all our volunteers, exhibitors, and engineers made it possible.  Our international guests  provided so much enthusiasm.  Perhaps it is impossible to thank everyone who participated, but we will try.  A very sincere "thank you" to all who helped; it could not have happened without you.  Please continue to support Coolspring Power Museum in the years to come.

International Visitors

Photo 1: A group photo of our international visitors


Photo 2: Rainbow over Coolspring


Photo 3: Unloading exhibits for Preston Foster Hall

Chris Moving the Deutz

Photo 4: Chris Austin moving a Deutz engine

Preston Foster Portrait

Photo 5: A portrait of Preston Foster

Kurt Foster Speaking at Memorial

Photo 6: Preston's son Kurt speaking at the memorial

Marty Riffle and Fuller Johnson Plaque

Photo 7: Marty Riffle and Fuller Johnson plaque

Preston Foster Hall

Photo 8: Preston Foster Hall during the show

Preston Foster Hall During the Event

Photo 9: Preston Foster Hall with exhibits in place

Wayne Grenning with Otto Langen

Photo 10: Wayne Grenning with the Otto Langen

Sign and Engine

Photo 11: Elegant sign and ½ hp Crossley engine

Crown Display

Photo 12: Display of Crown engines

Greg Johnson and Inverted Deutz

Photo 13: Greg Johnson and inverted Deutz engine

Flame Ignition Toy Engines

Photo 14: Toy engines from the 1880s and 1890s

Paradox Toy Engines

Photo 15: Paradox toy engines

Engine Display in Harvey Expo

Photo 16: Displays in the Harvey Expo Hall

Golden Gate Engine in Harvey Expo

Photo 17: A Golden Gate engine from California

Twin Cylinder Slide Valve Engine

Photo 18: 1888 Fetu Defize twin-cylinder slide valve engine

Brian Watching Otto Slide Valve Engine

Photo 19: Brian Triebner and Otto slide valve engine

Van Duzen Engine

Photo 20: Van Duzen engine

Ice Cream Engines

Photo 21: Ice cream churned by New Holland engines


Copyright 2018 by Coolspring Power Museum