Sunday, August 18, 2013
With a Clack and a Rattle and a Wave of Memories
Larry and I had the pleasure of attending the Badger Steam & Gas Engine Club's 50th annual show yesterday. I was there as a function of my work, but there was time for fun, too. Before I reported for duty, we toured the spacious show grounds, taking in the many exhibits and learning about vintage gas engines, farm equipment and more from passionate enthusiasts and collectors. We heard many of the things we saw, as they clacked, rattled, wheezed and whirred. It was a treat to the ears to hear all of the machinery of yesteryear in action. A highlight of the show was an engine designed and built by Charles Walter Hart and Charles H. Parr as their 1896 senior honors thesis at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In 1901, Hart and Parr relocated to Charles City, Iowa, where they started a business manufacturing traction engines. That business would later give them the distinction as founders of the tractor industry. By 1929, Hart-Parr and two other companies merged with the Oliver Chilled Plow Company to become what would later be called the Oliver Corporation. Charles City was my late mom's hometown and my maternal grandfather worked at the Oliver Corporation. So, in addition to the clacks, rattles, crowds and fun, the show brought me a delightful, warm wave of memories of Mom, Grandpa and their beautiful Charles City.