A walk through history at HCEA Expo

By |  December 7, 2016

Guests attending the Historical Construction Equipment Association’s (HCEA) International Convention & Old Equipment Exposition Sept. 16-18 in Bowling Green, Ohio, got a taste of how heavy-duty equipment operated as far back as the early 1900s.

The low hum of engines was a constant across 80 acres of showground, as antique equipment enthusiasts revved up the engines of old construction equipment at the showcase. HCEA and other antique equipment collectors displayed more than 130 pieces, many of which still operate because of work that was put into the machines.

The Historical Construction Equipment Association had many antique vehicles on hand at the event. Photos by Megan Smalley.

The Historical Construction Equipment Association had many antique vehicles on hand at the event. Photos by Megan Smalley

A number of old shovels and excavators on display dated back to the 1920s, with roots in Ohio cities, such as a 1926 Marion steam shovel with a 1 1/4-cu.-yd. bucket capacity.

Larry Kotkowski, owner of Lakeside Sand & Gravel in Mantua, Ohio, brought three trailer loads of equipment to feature at the show, including a Bucyrus-Erie 15-B shovel, a grader and two dump trucks.

“The Bucyrus-Erie is a World War II military machine that was used at our sand-and-gravel pit until the 1970s,” he says. “We restored it in 2002.”

As HCEA’s chairman, Kotkowski tries to attend every HCEA show. With a collection of about 200 pieces of antique heavy-duty equipment, he likes to bring a different piece to the show each year.

While a number of older collectors attended the event, young families also came to check out the construction equipment on display. HCEA even set up a play area for kids at the front of the showground that featured toy haul trucks, loaders and a replica screening plant from Lakeside Sand & Gravel.

HCEA and its museum

Like clockwork on Wednesday nights and Sundays, a team of six to 10 Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) members meets at the association’s headquarters in Bowling Green, Ohio. The team meets to repair antique equipment for HCEA’s National Construction Equipment Museum.

“It’s a regular cadence for me to work in the shop here those days,” says Mike Androvich, HCEA president. “I work on restoring equipment, cut the facility’s grass and maintain facilities.”

The current museum features 7,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space that was built in 1999, but HCEA plans to expand that to a 20,000-sq.-ft. facility with an education center that could attract more families and tour groups. The group needs to raise about $1.5 million for the expansion.

About the Author:

Megan Smalley is the associate editor of Pit & Quarry. Contact her at msmalley@northcoastmedia.net or 216-363-7930.

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