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At Steam and Gas Show, engines huff, puff and blow 'em away

August 10, 2003|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Thousands of people braved rain, mud and heat to attend the Cumberland Valley Antique Engine & Machinery Association's 21st annual Steam and Gas Show this weekend.

Glen Shatzer of Edenville, Pa., brought three vintage tractors to the show at Twin Bridges Campground west of Chambersburg. Shatzer said the show is "a rare thing."

"They claim this is the biggest one in this section of the eastern U.S.," he said.

The frequent showers during Friday's and Saturday's shows did not seem to hurt attendance.

"People stuck it out last night," he said Saturday. "They went in, and when it quit raining, they came back out."

All ages were represented at the show, as there were pedal tractor displays, a pedal tractor pull, 450 to 500 vintage tractors, a flea market, a gospel concert, food and numerous craft stands.

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"The younger generation caters pretty strong," Shatzer said. "And it's free. The older people like it."

The 200-member association holds monthly meetings and also has a spring show at Twin Bridges.

Tom Haubrick of McConnellsburg, Pa., worked in the blacksmith shop demonstrating old-fashioned skills. He pounded a heated piece of scrap iron from a wrought-iron fence to create a long shaft with hooks on it and a leaf on each end. The hooks are used to hang cups, keys or tools, he said.

"I sharpened a few picks today," he said. "And I made a digging iron for a fellow, and I made a couple of punches," which he uses in his work.

"A blacksmith has to make his own tools," he said.

Haubrick learned the trade mostly by watching others, he said, although he did have some formal training.

The huge bellows hanging in the corner is about 120 years old and has been restored, he said. He pulls a chain attached to a handle to work the bellows.

The forge is patterned after one in Willamsburg, Va.

The log cabin in which he worked was once a home in Edenville. It was dismantled, moved, then reassembled at Twin Bridges 11 years ago.

The show was not limited to tractors, or even to things with an engine.

Displayed in one of the sheds were an antique horse-drawn sled, walk-behind plows, cream separators and a horse-drawn buggy used to deliver mail on the first Rural Free Delivery route in Chambersburg in 1901. The conveyance, on loan from the Kittochtinny Historical Society in Chambersburg, has "US Mail Parcel Post Delivery" painted on its side.

A 1907 steam traction engine owned by Kerry Keese of Marion provided the steam for cooking at one of the food stands. The steam from the wood-fired engine was piped to the huge bean soup kettle, then routed to a steam barrel to cook corn in its husk and potatoes.

Originally used for belt power to operate farm machinery such as a sawmill or a trashing machine, the engine has been restored to its original condition.

David Frantz of Marion, Pa., who was working at the food stand, said it took about two hours to get enough steam for cooking, "then we keep it going all day long."

He said on Saturday that workers cooked about 25 gallons of bean soup Friday and "we're working on 60 gallons today."

They will be cooking and served the bean soup, corn and potatoes until 4 p.m. today.

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