By ROD KING
For IN|FW Newspapers
The sound of steam whistles coming from Jefferson Township Park could be heard as far away as the intersection of Webster and Dawkins roads east of New Haven. The occasion was the Maumee Valley Antique Steam & Gas Association’s 42nd Steam Engine and Tractor Show.
The event, which drew some 4,000 visitors to the park Aug. 15-18, had something for everyone. A field full of vintage tractors greeted visitors as they strolled toward the main activity area. Among the better-known brands were John Deere, Farmall, Case, Minneapolis-Moline, Massey Harris, Ford, Oliver and International Harvester. Not-so-well-known tractors included BF Avery, Eagle, Hart-Carr and Rumley.
Perhaps the most impressive demonstration was wheat thrashing that involved a huge 1927 AD Baker Manufacturing Co. steam engine and a vintage separator that knocked the grain off the stalks, shot it through a pipe into a wagon beside the separator and spewed the straw out the back.
The process took a little while to get the steam engine properly lined up and the long belt attached to the main wheel. Once the two got synced, two men with pitchforks climbed on top of the wheat-filled wagon and pitched the grain stalks onto the separator’s conveyor.
A large circular saw requiring several people to operate and powered by a belt attached to a steam engine was cutting wood to fuel the engines. A number of the antique engines were stoked and operating for visitors to view up close and personal. The smell of burning wood wafted throughout the park.
The forges were burning and the hammers of a dozen or so blacksmiths could be heard emanating from the Maumee Valley Blacksmith Club. They were turning out a variety of items from traditional door hinges and latches to hooks, candle holders and hand tools.
Horse-drawn wagons shuttled people from the show to the near-by Historical Railroad Association property to see the steam locomotives. An antique tractor pull demonstrated the power of the old machines and a parade with anything that had wheels snaked its way around the park. An entire building was full of beautifully hand-crafted quilts.
The Applejack Kloggers entertained and two bands played both Friday and Saturday evenings providing showgoers with everything from jug huffing and Bluegrass music to Appalachian mountain music and songs of the 1960s.
Kids could get their faces painted, ride a barrel train, take tractor rides, get their hands on some exotic animals and participate in their own kiddie tractor pull.
There was a flea market, several food trucks were on hand and homemade ice cream was being churned by … what else … a steam-powered machine.