If you like seeing old equipment operate, you should attend a Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association exposition in Kinzers, Pa. This exposition is for men young and old, wives, girlfriends and children of all ages. There are people riding in children's wagons, old cars, big tractors, steam tractors and garden tractors. Many of these machines are hauling whole families on trailers and wagons of various designs.
There are buildings full of hit-and-miss (pop-pop) and steam engines in operation. There is a steam-operated train that carries people around the compound on tracks, as well as steam tractors from garden-size to big farm and industrial tractors in operation and traveling around the compound. Meanwhile, others are operating belt-driven thrashing machines, saws, hay bailers, steam shovels and trucks. They have steam tractor pulls and other equipment contests daily.
Sensenig and Weaver Well Drilling of Denver, Pa., had an old trailer-mounted steam-operated cable tool drill that was drilling on-site. The steam was being provided by a nearby steam tractor. The drilling cable was a 1 1/4-inch manila rope. The bailing line also was manila rope. Bryan and Mike Sensenig were the operators. The Sensenigs were wearing hardhats, but they really didn't go with the before-hardhat history. They later removed the hardhats to reflect the time period. Before lunchtime, both men had blisters on their hands from twisting the manila rope while spudding. I learned that twisting the flat drive belt sometimes makes the belt stay on the pulleys. I also learned by experience that you shouldn't walk in front of the steam exhaust when the engine is fed steam - it's hot and wet. The Sensenigs don't know the make, model or year of the drill, however, I was told that it apparently had used a Star Boiler in its day. Note: Please contact me if you know of anyone who has any information on this drill, and I'll get that information to the Sensenigs.
They may be considering having other old drilling machines at future expositions.
Editor's note: Next month, look for a continuation of this column and see more of the old equipment on display, as Howard “Porky” Cutter shares further thoughts on his experience at the Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association expo.