‘Fascinating machines’ draw crowds to Yankee Engine-uity Show

  • Linda Langevin drives a tractorload of people through the grounds of the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show on Saturday afternoon at the Orange Municipal Airport. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Jocelyn Songer, left, drives through the grounds of the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show with her niece Lillian Songer, 8, in tow on Saturday afternoon at the Orange Municipal Airport. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Antique Farmall and John Deere tractors line the grounds. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Antique Farmall tractors line the grounds at the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Katherine Cushing, center, drives a John Deere tractor with Sarah Fountain, right, and Ezra Cushing during show Saturday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Central Massachusetts Steam Gas & Machinery Association display of a miniature 15-gauge Cagney Steam Train and the “Black Beauty” 12-ton, C.H. Brown-built engine, made in Fitchburg in 1909. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Phil St. Jean, left, and Don Upham drive an old carnival car through the Yankee Engine-uity Show. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Phil Merriam drives his bright yellow 1953 American Tractor Company Terratrac GT-28 during the show. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Central Massachusetts Steam Gas & Machinery Association display of the “Black Beauty” 12-ton, C.H. Brown-built engine, made in Fitchburg in 1909. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Central Massachusetts Steam Gas & Machinery Association display of the “Black Beauty” 12-ton, C.H. Brown-built engine, made in Fitchburg in 1909. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Jocelyn Songer, left, drives through the grounds of the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show with her niece Lillian Songer, 8, in tow on Saturday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Jocelyn Songer, left, drives through the grounds of the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show with her niece Lillian Songer, 8, in tow. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Antique Farmall tractors on the grounds at the Yankee Engine-uity Show. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Yankee Engine-uity Show attendees drive through the grounds by various means of transportation. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Tractors on display at the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Katherine Cushing, center, drives a John Deere tractor with Sarah Fountain, left, and Ezra Cushing. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Vehicles on display the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show on Saturday afternoon at the Orange Municipal Airport. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Antique engines on display. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Antique vehicles at he 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • One of the vintage vehicles at the Yankee Engine-uity Show. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Phil St. Jean, right, and Don Upham drive an old carnival car. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 7/1/2019 6:03:01 AM

ORANGE — Despite the calls for bad weather, engine and tractor enthusiasts from all over flocked to the 43rd annual Yankee Engine-uity Show this weekend. 

The event, held Saturday and Sunday, featured antique engines, antique tractors, steam engines and engine displays, old cars, food and music in a fair-like display hosted by the Central Massachusetts Steam Gas & Machinery Association at the Orange Airport.

“It’s our best year ever,” said Central Massachusetts Steam Gas & Machinery Association’s Steve Upham.

Behind Upham was the towering “Black Beauty,” a 12-ton, C.H. Brown-built engine, made in Fitchburg in 1909. 

The “Black Beauty” giant steam engine ran machinery for the Smith and Day Furniture Company in Baldwinville during the early 1900s, and was one of many reasons Upham called this year’s show the “best.”

There were other hallmarks of antique American machinery, which lined up in rows on the Airport’s field for visitors to examine, including  a 15-gauge Cagney Steam Train. According to organizer Grover Ballou, the miniature, rideable steam train is of the type one might see at amusement parks or central parks during the first half of the 20th century.

The Central Massachusetts Steam Gas & Machinery Association is in the process of restoring the miniature train, Ballou said, but, even though it’s not running yet, just seeing it was an experience itself. 

“The reason people come to things like this is because it’s one of the only ways to see these fascinating machines,” said Chris Patel, who came from India to visit family members in the area. 

The 1898-built Cagney steam train on display this weekend was one of around 1,300 built by the Cagney Brothers Miniature Railroad Company, which made rideable steam-powered trains in the late 1800s and early 1900s that were used in amusement parks, zoos and fairs across the country. It’s a replica of a real steam locomotive, the New York Central No. 999, built in 1893. 

“You can see something about people with these engines,” Patel said. “Compared to today’s, they are very different — the ones we have in cars and things like that — but they are also similar in some ways, taking something natural like steam or gas or some energy to create moving things for people. It’s amazing.” 

The show featured events like a tractor parade and a kiddie tractor pull, during which smiling children drove small replica tractors. 

To Bill Stevenson, who came from New Hampshire with his wife, Carey, and children, it seemed like everyone was having a good time.

“It’s a picnic for us, more or less,” Stevenson said. “We drive down, see the cars, cool things, eat and dash.” 

Stevenson said the allure of engines and machinery isn’t something that can be explained, it’s just ingrained in some people. 

“It’s from the heart,” Stevenson said. “We’re all motorheads here, really. Whether your thing is tractors or steam engines, there’s some crossover.”

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 




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