Fire up the tractor
HOUSTON – It’s older than just about everybody in Northeast Mississippi, but it will be rolling and going and tooting its whistle at the Flywheel Festival this fall.
The Ole Timers donated funds to the Mississippi Valley Flywheel Association last week to repair the 1923 Keck-Gonnerman steam engine at Joe Brigance Park and Massey Boiler Repair of Clinton was brought in to do the work.
“This old tractor has been a part of this community and the Flywheel Festival for years,” said Bobby Dodd, spokesman for the Ole Timers. “We do the pioneer exhibit at the festival each year and sell cracklin’s, hominy and lye soap. We use the proceeds to help the festival and this year it was the tractor.”
The old steam engine was acquired years ago and was permanently loaned to the City of Houston by the Mississippi Agricultural Museum in Jackson with the agreement it be publicly displayed and maintained. As with all machinery, parts have worn out.
“Some of the boiler tubes had a leak and we also had a plate wear-out and drip water in the fire box,” said Joseph Tornabene, who has operated and maintained the Keck for years. “It wasn’t unsafe, but we couldn’t build up enough pressure to make it roll. And we couldn’t blow the whistle.”
Tornabene said Massey Boiler Repair agreed to do the work at a reduced price.
“The initial estimate was for $1,500 and that was a fair price,” said Tornabene. “The Ole Timers and the Flywheel Association stepped up and we’re getting her fixed at a very reduced price.”
Tornabene said the Keck was designed to hold up to 150-pounds of steam. He said the Houston machine operates at about 30- to 40-pounds.
“These were incredibly strong and well-built machines and they could pull 20, 10-bottom plows across open fields,” said Tornabene. “Around here they drove them into the woods and used a belt and pulley to run sawmills, pump water and threshing machines.”
But Tornabene said the Keck’s working days are over and these are the machine’s golden years.
“When it gets all hot and pressured up it’s neat to see people come and just watch it and listen to it,” said Tornabene. “And then when you get a kid to come up and pull the whistle and their eyes light up and a smile breaks out on their face – that’s a big part of what this festival is all about.”
A donation box will be set up at the Keck this year to fund long-range maintenance and refurbishment of the tractor. Tax deductible donations can be made to the Mississippi Valley Flywheel Association or the Chickasaw Development Foundation.
- Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
- Click to print (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to Press This! (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
About Floyd Ingram
- Houlka streamlines police accounting May 18, 2016
- Rob Marion scholarship established May 22, 2016
- Commission meets, offers concerns on consolidation May 23, 2016
- Houston wins state baseball championship May 23, 2016
- CONSOLIDATION: The Commission May 23, 2016
- Pugh earns WBC Business Award May 25, 2016
- JAY HUGHES: Threats and promises from lawmakers May 24, 2016
- State of the Region meeting set for May 26 May 24, 2016
- Okolona addresses blighted property May 24, 2016
- FLOYD INGRAM: Tourism tax and consolidation May 23, 2016
- Michael Mcalpin: As a kid I spent many an afternoon in the fire sta...
- Hang Abarca: Hi Sharmaine! my work colleague filled in a blank ...
- Sharmaine Sartor: Useful commentary . I learned a lot from the analy...
- Lahoma Stapleton: Hi smithjasmine. I got ahold of a template CG 20 3...
- smithjasmine: Timely ideas , I loved the details . Does someone ...
- RT @wcbiweather: The heat index has surpassed 100 in many spots today. Stay cool out there! #mswx #alwx #wcbi http://t.co/Lt2LRZTDcm 3 years ago
- RT @dennisseid: OSHA: 24 work-related deaths in Miss. last year http://t.co/lgEYYtK7ZR 3 years ago
- Speech pathologists work to better communication skills | Monroe Journal http://t.co/lyHLvb0OS1 3 years ago
- Mumford & Sons bassist has blood clot on brain http://t.co/4xNLMhxaif 3 years ago
- Mobile home fire claims one | Itawamba Times http://t.co/FHouwxbnsp 3 years ago