Flywheel logo

December 2015

Completing 30 Years!

Thirty years of Coolspring Power Museum
Five years of The Flywheel

By Paul Harvey

October's Bright Blue Weather
O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

Coolspring Power Museum marked its thirtieth anniversary this year with the biggest and best show ever. Our June show, featuring the Flame Ignition Expo, was a monumental event that might never again be duplicated. Its memories are etched in time forever, both here and in many countries abroad. The museum's anniversary year was concluded with our October show, where we finally enjoyed some relaxed and enjoyable time to visit with our guests. The entire week was busy as our engineers prepared their displays for the weekend, and some new additions to the museum arrived as well. Several days during show week, we had the fantastic weather that the poet describes - crisp blue skies and bright golden sun. Of course, being Coolspring, there was a bit of rain and mud!

I would like to add that this issue of The Flywheel is Number 60, which marks my completion of five years of writing these articles. I have learned much from doing the research and travel, as well as having met many new friends who reply to them. I certainly hope that I will be able to complete another 60 issues!

The museum grounds were peaceful on the Monday of show week, as the last details were being competed for the event.  Photo 1 depicts the grounds awaiting the visitors in "October's Bright Blue Weather."  A few short days later this area will be filled with exhibitors and vendors, with all the visitors exploring the many displays.  A little way off, I came upon the Friends Exhibition Hall, Photo 2, already awaiting its guests.  This friendly building has coffee, hot chocolate, water, and a variety of snacks for the visitors, asking only that something be put into the donation box.  The picnic tables make it a wonderful place to refresh a bit while enjoying some magnificent engines in operation!

Wandering on, I found that Ben Egloff and Doug Fye were doing some pipe work in the Type X Bessemer Building, as shown in Photo 3.  The work paid off, as a bit later the big Bessemer was happily running, making some enjoyable "stack music" with its exhaust. Note Photo 4.  Traveling back to the field again, I was delighted to see that Adam Smith with his beautifully restored Reid engine had already arrived. He spent untold hours in making this engine as original as possible.  Photo 5 shows Adam and his engine ready for the weekend event. Soon, that field would be filled!

As the gorgeous afternoon turned toward evening, I chatted with Doris Straka, who was taking Buddy for a walk.  Note Photo 6.  Doris's husband, Ted, helps Jake Faith place all the exhibitors and vendors.  Together, they diligently keep the display fields in order. As the sun sunk below the hill, Photo 7, we were all treated to a gorgeous sunset with flaming orange clouds.  Smiling as I recalled the old saying, "Red sky at night, sailors' delight"; I hoped it would be true.

New since the June show, the 150 horsepower Miller engine is now on its foundation and grouted in.  The crew, coordinated by Doug Fye and Reid Wellman, is happily ahead of schedule with this big installation. Sporting a 21 inch bore and 20 inch stroke, this is the only known example of an "old style" Miller engine; with its unusual valve motion. See Photo 8.  Having worked at the Spring Creek air plant near Kane, Pennsylvania, this engine was located beside our 300 horsepower Miller, seen in the background. It has been 45 years since the engines went their separate ways!  I can recall its last run by John Wilcox before he started its removal.  The two engines will run side-by-side again.

Another new addition, as seen in Photo 9, is this little Lorain shovel which was originally located about 20 miles from Coolspring.  I have been in love with it for many years.  With my help, our member, Steve Wolbert purchased it and Carl Cook hauled it to Coolspring.  After a little tinkering, it has already been useful here, clearing brush for a new structure.  Shown in Photo 10 is a diminutive Buffalo-Springfield roller donated to the museum by Vance Packard. Originally owned by a paving contractor from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, it is late 1930s vintage.  Probably weighing about 2,500 pounds, it is in the shop for the winter and will be helping to keep our roads smooth next year.

The Wednesday of show week was a bit wet, but Thursday morning saw the return of the "Bright Blue Weather!"  Photo 11 depicts the grounds awakening and preparing for the event.  Most of the exhibitors and vendors were already placed, anticipating a great day.  Touring through all the exhibitors' displays, I found this nice original Etna engine made in Butler, Pennsylvania.  See Photo 12.  Traveling on, I saw this crosshead Fairbanks-Morse model Z, illustrated in Photo 13.  But wait, no way!!! F-M never used a cross head in their small engines.  Looking closely, it was betrayed by one modern socket head bolt!  This was the most perfect modification that I have ever seen. The owner explained that 13 inches were added into the frame to allow the cross head, but it all appeared as one casting.  Excellent job!  Photo 14 shows a late style, two-cycle Reid employing a gas injection cylinder.  The cylinder is inclined and air cooled.  This was probably an attempt to keep pace with Bessemer and Clark engines.

After a great day the special Friday evening engine run was successful, with many folks crowding into the various buildings.  One of our new volunteers this year, Nick Scotese, has worked with Rob Northey in the Power Tech Building this summer, and proudly did the evening start of the big Otto himself.  Photo 15 shows Nick about to pull the air start lever.  Also there, was our youngest volunteer, Jonah Close, who is completing his work on the eight horsepower Etna engine.  Jonah has been with us for a few years and, in addition to painting the Windy City building, he is adept at running most everything here.  Noted in Photo 16, Jonah plans to have the Etna running in June 2016.  Many thanks to these two newer members and capable volunteers!!

As the show ended Saturday, we all congregated into the Friends Exhibition Hall for a wonderful dinner.  Photo 17 shows the magnificent Backus engine displayed there for the weekend.  Good food, good company, and good engines.  As the 2015 season ended, life could not get any better.  As the poet so appropriately concludes:

O suns and skies and flowers of June
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

The museum is now closed for the season.  For information, please see our website, or call 814-849-6883.  The website is frequently updated and will keep one abreast of all our changes and future dates.  For 2016, our theme will be, "One-of-a-Kind Engines."  Just bring your unusual engine and share it with all the others.  If you do not know what it is, that can add to the fun with everyone guessing!  I am sure we will have many interesting machines.  See you then!

Peaceful Monday

Photo 1: The peaceful Monday before the show

FEH Ready

Photo 2: Friends Exhibition Hall

Doug & Ben

Photo 3: Pipe work for the Type X Bessemer

Bessemer Runs

Photo 4: The Bessemer Type X runs

Adam & Reid

Photo 5: Adam Smith and his Reid engine

Doris & Buddy

Photo 6: Doris Straka and Buddy

Monday Evening Sunset

Photo 7: Sunset over Coolspring

150 hp Miller Engine

Photo 8: 150 hp Miller engine on its foundation

Lorain Shovel

Photo 9: Lorain shovel

Buffalo Springfield Roller

Photo 10: Buffalo-Springfield roller

Thursday Morning

Photo 11: Thursday morning as the show begins

Nice Original Etna Engine

Photo 12: An Etna engine made in Butler, Pennsylvania

Cross Head F-M Model Z

Photo 13: Fairbanks-Morse model Z - with a cross head!

Gas Injected Reid

Photo 14: A late-style, two-cycle Reid engine

Nick & Otto

Photo 15: Nick Scotese about to start the 175 hp Otto

Jonah & Etna

Photo 16: Jonah Close and the 8 hp Etna engine

Beautiful Backus

Photo 17: Backus engine in Friends Exhibition Hall


Copyright 2018 by Coolspring Power Museum