Cleveland – March 2019 – People, Art & Machines

Mid March means it is time for the Piston Powered Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. As the name indicates this show features all things with a piston: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, an Airplane, Tanks, Snowmobiles, and even a Steam Shovel – plus a few things without pistons.

Most of the cars are ‘by invitation’, which means they are the best of the best. To make it to be one of the best in a custom car show you must have good graphics – and this show has that. It also has a great collection of people who have as much character as the vehicles – all filling the million square foot (93,000 square meters) building.

As you enter the vast hall you are immediately greeted with some really nice restorations.




As noted previously, many had customized paint jobs including this mid 1960s Chevy El Camino hood.




A number incorporated famous graphics, like Speedy Gonzalez.




This customized Willy’s sedan had a matching mannequin.




The participants came from numerous states in a 500 mile radius of Cleveland, including this great paint job from Kentucky.




For some the audience made a good match for the car.




A Zombie car – because why not.




The Zombie car’s door art.





Most of the motorcycles were customized Harley’s, many containing skulls.





Some craftsmen were displaying their skills – he was cutting leather.




This car was a repeat from a couple of years ago that was my posting’s feature photo – still one of the very best custom designs I have ever seen.




An aptly named 1957 Chevy.





A group of local technical high schools were having a competition to tear down and rebuild an engine in less than 30 minutes. Not sure why these guys were wearing helmets though.





While most of the custom bikes were Harley’s this great sport bike paint job features a customization of the ‘Guardians of Transportation’ sculptures on a large Cleveland bridge. Ironically I was wearing my ‘Dia de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)’ T shirt that featured the same sculpture in a skeleton look, so I fit in with the theme on all the bikes.




There was a classic wooden boat display as well. The boats themselves are works of art!




As is this sweet 1948 Buick Convertible.




Even a plain old 1960s Ford Station Wagon can be made to look great.




There were a couple of internet radio stations present – this one is a community station that, among other things, featuring racing.




I am not positive what it is, but I am certain it is NOT a Prius.




Mixing classic art and hot rods.




Many had names.




Most had pistons, but not this turbine jet car.





Some cars like the ‘rat rod’ rusty, beat up look – some like the pristine restoration. This Paddy Wagon was somewhere in between, but still cool.





Also featured were a number of artists showing how they make the great graphics we saw on all the vehicles.




All obviously have very steady hands.




The detail is amazing.




His shirt says it all.




It is amazing on the metal how little paint it took to go a long ways.




This guy had great pedal cars.




Not sure how a bowling pin got into a car show – but hey it is Cleveland.




Ready for St Patricks Day.




The emcee, and auctioneer, had character. She was auctioning off the finished pieces for charity.

Once again the Piston Powered Show was a great way to spend a day inside checking out a great collection of vehicles, people and art.







Kendallville, Indiana – September 2018 – Windmill Museum

The Mid America Windmilll Museum located in Kendallville has about 50 water windmills from the last 100 years. These windmills were key to the development of farming in the midwest.

The museum has a barn with some of the windmill wheels showing how they function. The museum was originally built to showcase a local windmill manufacturer, but now has models from several different companies.

2018 09 01 393 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

While most are the tall thin metal type, they do have one example of an English post mill.

2018 09 01 358 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

The blades, or sails, have a variety of shapes.

2018 09 01 419 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

The tails help stabilize and turn the windmill into the wind at the most optimum angle.

2018 09 01 420 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

The tails also serve as advertising for the manufacturer.

2018 09 01 426 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

Each manufacturer had a variety of shapes and sizes of tails and blades.

2018 09 01 429 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

Some painted colorfully.

2018 09 01 438 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

More symmetry – this time from the windmill blades.

2018 09 01 440 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

The water windmill allowed farms with no electrical power to be able to pump water in the vast remote regions of the midwest.

2018 09 01 447 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

The gears in the wheel  assembly would turn the hub attached to the long pump rod inside of the pipe in the well.

This up and down motion pulls the water up.

2018 09 01 448 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

These simple, elegant machines were the lifeline of the country.

2018 09 01 454 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

A close up of the wheel mechanisms.

2018 09 01 462 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

A wheel made to look like a Native American head dress.

2018 09 01 465 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

An overview of the collection. Note the different manufacturers on the tails.

2018 09 01 481 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

The museum also featured a small covered bridge.

2018 09 01 389 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

The post mill stands out in the crowd.

2018 09 01 470 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

Ironically the fountain in the water uses a modern electric pump, not the windmills. And the outhouse is just for decoration.

2018 09 01 390 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

One final look at the collection of windmills at the Mid American Windmill Museum in Kendallville, Indiana.

2018 09 01 483 Kendallville IN Windmill Museum.jpg

 

 

Sugarcreek, OH – June 2018 – Age of Steam Roundhouse

The Age of Steam Roundhouse located in the countryside outside of Sugarcreek, Ohio is the result of a single man’s passion for trains. Jerry Joe Jacobson had a lifelong interest in trains, and over the years collected numerous steam and diesel engines,, along with a number of cars.

In 2011 they completed the roundhouse to house the collection. I had read about this online and sent an email querying about visiting. The email I received back detailed how they only opened to large group tours, but that sometime in the summer they would offer up public tours – so I signed up and a few months later had my tour.

I received back a lengthy waiver detailing numerous don’ts for the visit. While giving me pause we headed out. Upon arriving we had yet another lengthy warning speech about safety (don’t step on a rail you might twist an ankle!) and numerous other things. Now I was concerned it was going to feel like a school field trip we headed out.

Thankfully I was very wrong once we went out on our tour. Our primary tour guide was the son of Jerry (who passed away a year or so ago). He was informative, engaging and lead us throughout the facility – although they did group us into 3 large piles of 30+ people.

 

2018 06 09 9 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

The roundhouse is 48,000 square feet with space for 18 locomotives. Built out of masonry and heavy timbers it is an impressive sight.

2018 06 09 16 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

Our first stop was the shop where they restore the locomotives.

2018 06 09 38 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

It was here we got our first close view of the impressive doors, each weighing over 2000 pounds (1000 kilograms). They are proud that they are so well balanced you can close them with 1 finger.

2018 06 09 48 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

Also outside is the large water tank and delivery system that steam locomotives require.

2018 06 09 54 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

Returning back inside we toured the numerous engines housed there.

2018 06 09 68 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

A couple of the middle bays were free of trains to give a nice overview of the building.

2018 06 09 72 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

The assistants to the tour were all dressed for the part – and helpful.

2018 06 09 89 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

Each bay has a chimney to capture the significant smoke that a steam locomotive puts out. Note the impressive ceiling.

2018 06 09 93 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

They had a variety of engines, although to be fair with the large crowd you could either a) be up front where you could hear the description but have 35 people in the way of the photos  or  b) hang back and get nice photos but no description. One of the numerous opening instructions were no talking to each other or the other guides so you don’t disrupt the tour – they have a schedule to keep.

2018 06 09 99 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

Outside are the doors to the turntable – a very impressive sight remembering each of the doors (36 in all) are over 2000 pounds.

2018 06 09 112 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

The tracks to the turntable with an engine on the table.

2018 06 09 118 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

One of the ‘pushers’ (to keep everyone in line) was Jerry – he and the others were really great and helpful (I whispered my questions!). After the tour I was able to speak to Jerry further finding him a very interesting man.

2018 06 09 127 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

Returning back inside – another great view.

2018 06 09 140 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

A close up of one of the engines and the ceiling.

2018 06 09 143 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

They did have a couple of small display of ancillary railroad items.

2018 06 09 158 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

A final look inside.

2018 06 09 163 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

A view from outside the fence surrounding the property. The Age of Steam Roundhouse is an amazing place well worth the visit, even with the extensive (silly) warnings and processes and slightly expensive cost to attend.

2018 06 09 179 Sugarcreek OH Age of Steam Roundhouse.jpg

 

 

 

Dayton – April 2017 – Proto Build Bar

A find on the Roadside America website was the World’s Largest Claw Game. Located in Dayton, Ohio it was a must stop on our day in town. It turned out to be in somewhere very cool itself.

The Proto Build Bar is acknowledged by the folks in the coffee shop, as well as on their website as the World’s first ‘Buildbar’. It is a place that they claim is part 3D printing lab, part electronic maker space, and part cafe, and their advertising is spot on.

2017 04 08 40 Dayton Proto Build Bar.jpg

 

 

Upon entering we were welcomed by Betty, who showed us around and explained the concept.

2017 04 08 41 Dayton Proto Build Bar.jpg

 

2017 04 08 31 Dayton Proto Build Bar.jpg

 

There are many touches recognizing the genius of Nikola Tesla

2017 04 08 34 Dayton Proto Build Bar.jpg

 

And true to Roadside America they do indeed have the World’s Largest Claw Game. And to top it off I had an excellent turkey and swiss panini.

2017 04 08 35 Dayton Proto Build Bar.jpg