Fri August 11, 2023

By Jeff Smithpeters

Rusty but still turning: Rusty Wheels puts on its 46th show in western Fair Park

A 1950 Ferguson tractor on display and on sale at the Rusty Wheels show Friday afternoon.

Glen Scroggins is hosting his 46th engine show, which now has come to be called the Rusty Wheels Engine Show in near the woods on the western part of Fair Park. This reporter found him demonstrating an ice crushing machine to a father and son in the smaller building behind the Rusty Wheels shack.

Asked how many horsepower the silver-painted crusher uses, Scroggins said, "Ever how many you have in your arm." It has been here at the park the past 15 years, has a hand crank and is adjustable so that it can convert a block of ice into shaved goodness, fit for your tea glass.

He urges visitors to come see what's in the Rusty Wheels barn, which houses a cotton gin engine from the 1930s and washing machines from the time before they had settings for delicates.

To the south of the shack, you can see early versions of the hay bailer, one with its engine, the other without. You can see they were a complex of visible gears that probably allowed much easier repairs than today's intricate, computerized models.

Russell Gardner, with his son Calvin, sit next to a truck and trailer holding an assortment of items, the largest of which is the spitshine 1950 Ferguson tractor, which Russell repainted a sky-grey. It's for sale. It's a machine John Ferguson, who was an associate of Henry Ford designed and sold and it bears a great family resemblance to the 1923 Ford truck parked in front of the Rusty Wheels Shack today.

"It was the cat's meow back in 1950," Calvin Gardner said. "It's hard to find one of these that is that old that not all torn up," Russell Gardner said.

A safe from 1883 with an illustration on its door was sold by the gentlemen, who both hail from Stamps, this morning. It still sat in the bed of the truck. On its trailer, you could also see finely made American tools from companies like Springfield curved in the exact ways needed for their purposes.