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Timeless Machines

August 25, 2000|RICHARD KAHLENBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dozens of whirring, clattering machines will be on display through Labor Day at the Antelope Valley Fair in an exhibit sponsored by the Rusty Relics Club.

The Lancaster-based club restores antique equipment, and its display will include a 1920 gasoline-powered Maytag washing machine and a 1932 Fairbanks Morse engine with an 8-foot-high iron flywheel.

"When we turn that big one on, once every 15 minutes, you can hear it all over the fair," said club president Jerry Burak. "Follow the sound to find the display in the large area behind the fair grandstand."

He and several of the 100 club members--who come from the San Fernando and Antelope valleys and as far away as Las Vegas--recently readied several 1920s-era John Deere tractors and a "Waterloo Boy" model made in 1917 for the display. Also on view will be restored trucks, generators and a hay baler from the same era.

Owner of Burak Bye Products, a Chatsworth machine shop that restores exotic automobiles for collectors, Burak said the purpose of the display is "to educate the public about what used to be [in use] and what they're going to be seeing again."

Pointing with pride to the fuel injection and overhead cam technology on an 1896 Springfield engine, Burak noted that mass-production auto manufacturers did not get around to using these features until late in the 20th century.

"It's amazing that engines so old are still running," said club member Luci Fountain. "Today, you buy something like a generator engine and in five years it's ready for the dump."

The club's display pavilions will be "air conditioned" by fans and pressurized water-spraying misters that will run on electricity generated by several of the antiques, Fountain said.

The club will hold a raffle in which the winner will have the choice of carrying off a prize antique or $500 cash. Tickets are $1 each.

BE THERE

The Rusty Relics display of antique machines, today through Sept. 4, Antelope Valley Fair, Avenue I at Division Street in Lancaster. Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight most days, call fair for exact times. Fair admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors/juniors. Call (661) 948-6060.

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