Power Up with Annual Kidron Antique Power Show

Traction Engine

If you want more power, we’ll have it on Saturday, May 12 during the Kidron Antique Power Show here on the grounds at Lehman’s!

Show organizer Ethan Lehman is pleased to be back this spring. “We’ve been at Lehman’s for a little over five years. Jay Lehman (the founder of Lehman’s Hardware) offered us some space in the west parking lot, and we’ve been there ever since.” Jay Lehman owns an antique traction engine himself, a fully operational Rumley.

Ethan, naturally, is a collector of vintage engines. “They run on gasoline, kerosene, things like that. I personally like big stuff, some of which is too big to get to the show! My biggest one was made in 1911 in Cleveland. It was used to pump water into the city water system of Clarksburg, West Virginia. It’s 13 feet high and 17 feet long.”

Most of the engines showing up this Saturday won’t be quite as big as Ethan’s favorites. Many collectors specialize in small engines that can be loaded easily onto truck beds or small trailers. These engines go by many names, including Johnny Poppers, hit-and-miss engines, and stationaries. During the early years of this century, these engines were common on farms and homesteads, driving belts to run things like washing machines, milking machines and farm equipment. They often were bolted to small flat wagons called ‘trucks’ and rolled from job to job on the farm.

Popper engine mounted on truck.

“So many machines are becoming so rare,” Ethan notes. “These days, scrap prices are so high that the old engines get scrapped. Guys would rather do that than preserve them, save them. A large-ish engine could scrap out for $1,000 dollars. Here, in Ohio, you’ll see lots of old grasshopper engines (oil or natural gas pumps) getting scrapped because the gas or oil is gone. Folks who collect work hard to find the rarities like those engines and keep them running.”

The Kidron Antique Power Show is the second in our Saturday family-friendly event series this May. The show runs 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, May 12. Join us—and experience a fast-disappearing part of our agricultural heritage.