County Antique Equipment Show Set For Aug. 15-17

STOCKTON – The 40th annual Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Show runs Aug. 15-17 at the Antique Equipment Association grounds on Cemetery Road, Stockton.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tractors, engines and building displays will be continuously displayed. Scheduled events will include saw mill operation, parades, tractor games, tractor pulls, garden tractor pulls, butter churning and weaving. Attendees will also be treated to blacksmithing demonstrations, machine shop work, printing and a quilt show.

A silent auction will run throughout the show. Equipment for sale should be brought in early. Silent auction winners will be announced at noon Sunday.

Food will be offered both by the Equipment Association and by guest vendors. The association will offer a biscuit, sausage, and gravy breakfast while the Maple Producers of the Chautauqua Region will serve a pancake and syrup breakfast starting at 8 a.m. Throughout the day, hot dogs, hamburgers, beef on kimmelweck, pulled pork, ice cream, pop, coffee, Philly steak sandwiches, fried dough, cotton candy, and kettle corn will be available. The Stockton Volunteer Fire Company will put on a chicken barbecue Friday afternoon from 4-6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at noon.

Visitors can eat comfortably this year under the new picnic pavilion. The pavilion will also be the location for an 8:30 a.m. Sunday religious song and worship service featuring Mary and Gordon Carlberg.

New this year is a line shaft and belt-powered machine shop. The blacksmith shop, expanded print shop, and old time gas station will be open and operating throughout the show. There is also an engine house with large oil field and industrial engines which will run intermittently. The museum building features household and domestic displays and active demonstrations. There will be a quilt show featuring old and new quilts. Antique machinery from the Association’s own collection and the large electrical insulator collection will be on view in the Dale E. Nickerson Building. Permanent restrooms in that building have been upgraded. There is an equipment-related flea market on the grounds.

Antique trucks take the spotlight in this year’s show. Today trucks might be the most common, familiar, and diverse commercial and industrial class of machinery in the world. By the late 20th century trucks had displaced trains in movies, country music, and the hearts of collectors, little boys, and a lot of men.

Surprisingly the word “truck” as we commonly use it now dates only to 1913. Previously they were specified as “motor trucks” as early as 1901. Before that “truck” usually meant either the still common and handy hand truck or the unit that consists of two or four wheels, axels, springs and supports on the under side of a rail car or street car.

Gottlieb Daimler in Germany built the first motor truck in 1896, four-horse power. The popularity of trucks increased gradually then dramatically in 1911. They were popular at first in cities as delivery vehicles. The First World War, which America entered in 1917, created an enormous demand for draft horses. Trucks and tractors began filling in the shortages created on American farms. On the battlefield itself, four-wheel drive, four wheel steering trucks transported troops through the mud in France.

In the 1920s semi-trailers first started going over the roads of America, such as they were, in significant numbers.

Dodge and Chevrolet had produced pickup trucks as early as 1918, but the Ford Model T version was the most successful in rural areas where their popularity never stopped growing.

Early trucks had such features as chain drive to the rear axel, hard rubber tires (no air), open cabs or no cabs, no heaters, and the most Spartan of seats.

Probably the oldest and most unusual truck on the grounds will be the large 1912 electric vehicle manufactured by the Commercial Truck Company of Philadelphia. The truck was purchased in 1912 by the Curtis publishing company also in Philadelphia and familiar for Ladies’ Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, and other leading magazines. The truck was part of a fleet of 20 some electric trucks that performed various tasks. Two of the trucks hauled coal to the Curtis publishing plant to power the steam engines that ran the presses. They also generated their own power to charge the electric trucks. This particular truck was licensed on the road from 1912 to 1963 when the plant closed down, and so for 51 years it traveled over cobblestone roads delivering bundles of newspapers to street corners to be distributed by route boys.

The truck weighs 6 tons, runs on 84 volts and carried 2000 pounds of batteries that would power the truck for 8 hours carrying a 5 ton load at speeds up to 15 mph. Many of these trucks would slip silently through the night delivering their respective loads and never awakened a soul.

Owner Martin Lydell found the truck in a junkyard in the 70s. He finally persuaded the owner to sell in 1992. “My brother and I did a total restoration. The truck was originally purchased by Don Gage at auction in 1964. About half of the original Curtis trucks are still around in various collections but none that I know of have been restored to running condition like this one has.”

Antique farm tractors and stationary gas engines are the meat and potatoes of equipment shows. This year engines made in New York State are another featured item.

Typical of developing technologies and of the industrial structure of America around the turn of the 20th century, early gas engines were produced independently by thousands of manufacturers large and small. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of names were based in New York state, probably four in Chautauqua County. The best known of these was the Rumsey manufactured in Ripley between 1903 and 1906.

Other curiosities and demonstrations will be scattered over the grounds. These include such items as a windmill, stone crusher, stationary baler, operating threshing machine, shingle making, and industrial cord weaving machine.

There will be parades all three days, garden tractor pulls the first two days and farm tractor pulls the last two days.

Termed a “petting zoo for tractors,” a special area for children with pedal tractors and pedal tractor pulls will be in action again this year. This proved very popular in recent years.

The Old Dawg Bluegrass band, one of the top local bands in its field, will play on the grounds from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday at no extra charge.

The Chautauqua County Antique Equipment show is gaining a reputation as one of the better shows in the region, filled with surprises and outstanding displays, perfect for families and all ages. Admission is $5 per day for adults, children under 14 free, senior rate $3 on Friday. Primitive camping is available for exhibitors. Full-service camping is available next door at the Chautauqua County Firemen’s Fraternity.