Horseless Carriage Museum’s Summer on the Road!

It is glaringly obvious that I have been tardy in my posts! OK, that’s an understatement!

However we have been very busy this summer.

Since there is such a huge lack of local support for the Museum, we have had to “Take the Show on the Road” to drum up awareness and interest for our unique collection.

I will document just a few of the outings we had.

At “Bobcaygeon Bike Fest”, the 1899 Stanley Steam car and the 1878 Penny Farthing High Wheeler Bicycle were a huge hit with everyone, young and old, families and even the tough burly Bikers!!!

Horseless Carriage Museum at Bobcaygeon Bike Fest 2012

Horseless Carriage Museum at Bobcaygeon Bike Fest 2012


We were special guests at Lang Pioneer Village for their  “Smoke and Steam Show”. What a beautiful setting for such a show! We met many fellow enthusiasts and young families with a deep interest in history. The Steam Car even won the trophy for “Village Choice” of historical exhibits.

The Fenelon Falls Steam Show was held at it’s new location on the LEX grounds in Lindsay this year. Dad took down a display and was amazed at the interest and positive response. He was overwhelmed by the number of people who were unaware that such a fabulous Museum existed in their own “backyard”. Mayor Ric Magee even gave the Museum a very favourable mention in his Opening Ceremonies address.

Many other such events and shows were attended, at which we made great new friends and garnered much more awareness for the Museum. Well, I would have to say that our efforts towards self promotion worked. As of our official seasonal closing on Thanksgiving weekend we had increased our attendance by almost 2500 people over last year!

I urge everyone to discover what awaits them in their own “backyards” !!!!

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“The Way We Were” Weekly Post- 1907 REO Car

We are very proud to be ONLY the second family to own this magnificent 1907 REO model A touring car.

1907 REO model A touring car at bobcaygeon museum attraction

Our 1907 REO model A touring car, 105 years young!

It was originally purchased new by George Grey Senior in 1907. Mr. Grey lived in Burry Quebec, and when he had saved enough money to purchase a car, he WALKED from his home in Burry to Nashua New Hampshire to buy it.  He had a brief “driving lesson” at the dealership, and then he was on his way.

At that time automobiles were a rarity in rual areas, and Mr.Grey’s REO was the first car down the main street of Sherbrooke Quebec. It was reported and retold by family members that many people gasped and ran at the unusual sight of such a “monstrosity”.

Below are some pictures of other 1907, model A touring REOs from the era.

1907 REO bobcaygeon museum kawartha lakes attraction

Roosevelt in a 1907 REO

1907 REO at Bobcaygeon museum attraction

Nice day for a drive!


1907 REO at Bobcaygeon museum attraction

1907 REO sporting the "optional" convertable top.


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1895 Sawyer & Massey Steam Traction Engine-“History of a Very Useful Engine”

At the Horseless Carriage Museum, every exhibit has character, and a story. I would like to share with you the history of our 1895 Sawyer & Massey from the time she was created until she came home to us.
In 1895, the Sawyer & Massey Company was manufacturing these large steam engines in Hamilton Ontario and were sold all over Canada. Imagine the way these large tractors changed the face of farming from then on!
Our pretty little traction engine, the smallest model made by Sawyer & Massey at that time, was sold brand new and shipped to Bristol Quebec by train.
1895 sawyer & massey bobcaygeon museum

Our exact Model of Sawyer & Massey Engine, new in 1895 with a threshing machine in tow

Once in Quebec, she was put into service powering a threshing machine like the one seen above, to separate the grain from the straw. This was her primary job until about 1949. The engine did a brief five year stint on a Tobacco farm steaming seed beds until she was put up in a shed and forgotten about for almost 20 years.

Then, in 1973, a man by the name of Eric Campbell from Shawville Quebec, discovered her and brought her home to his shop for 3 years of loving restorations. The little old engine ran so well, Mr. Campbell used to her to thresh 100 acres of grain that very fall! She became his “beloved engine” and he is quoted as having said “She’s not big, but she sure is pretty and we are all proud of her.” So proud was he, that Eric would drive her 5 miles into town for the groceries!
Eric Campbell was the founder of the Pontiac Steam and Gas Assoc. of Quebec.  As such, he traveled to many Steam shows and Fairs with his little engine. It was at one of these steam shows about 25 years ago, that Dad (Richard Bennett) met Eric Campbell and was invited to run the little Sawyer. Dad was awestruck with the old gal, and the little Sawyer captured yet another heart. Of course Dad offered to purchase the engine, but Eric declined with the promise to keep Dad in mind should the day ever come to sell her.
The Sawyer went home with Eric and continued to thresh grain at Eric’s annual “Threshing bee” every year until about 2002. Tragically, Eric passed away in 2007, and the little engine remained in the shed.
In 2008, Dad was contacted by a close friend and was told that the engine was going to be available for sale. Mom and Dad literally dropped everthing, and left for Shawville Quebec early the next morning with a paper bag full of cash!  Dad was able to meet with  Eric’s daughter and negotiated the sale of the Sawyer & Massey. He and Mom saw the engine again for the first time in many years.
sawyer & massey traction engine bobcaygeon museum

The Sawyer & Massey as found in November 2008









Dad was anxious  to restore her to her former glory and he and Steve, with the help of their friend Allan, contacted Elliott’s trucking company to discuss bringing  her home. One week later she was being towed out of the shed on Eric’s farm and being loaded on the tractor trailer for the trip home. However that trip would come with it’s own difficulties!


sawyer & massey bobcaygeon museum
Loading on the trailer

The little Sawyer & Massey had been deemed a Quebec Historical piece and though she was privately owned and legaly sold,  the removal of any designated historical piece from Quebec is strickly prohibited. This wasn’t going to stop Dad. Thus they travelled every forgotten backroad they could navigate, at questionable speeds, racing towards the Ontario border before the Quebec Provincial Police could find out what was happening.


And so began the long trip home!

sawyer & massey bobcaygeon museum

Leaving Quebec


We were all so happy to see her arrive home safe and sound that wet and cold day in November of 2008.

sawyer & massey bobcaygeon museum
Arriving Home at the Horseless Carriage Museum

That very day, the restorations began, not only to the engine, but her water wagon as well. It took time, elbow grease, love and devotion, but just look at her now!!!

sawyer & massey bobcaygeon museum

The 1895 Sawyer & Massey at home with the Bennett Family.

“She’s not big, but she sure is pretty and we are all proud of her.”

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“The Way We Were” Weekly Post- Art Oxford “Laurel” Stove

As I had mentioned before, we are always looking for antique photos that illustrate the every day use of some of the exhibits you can find in the musem.

Our Art Oxford “Laurel” base burner stove, made by the Gurney Foundry Ltd.  Toronto, Ont., has been a favourite with visitors and is centrally located in our 1890’s General Store.

So imagine our delight when we found a picture showing a base burner stove, very similar to ours, being used in a general store! How neat!

Below is the antique picture, as well as a picture of our stove which can be seen at the Horseless Carriage Museum.

Base burner stove at horseless carriage museum kawartha lakes

Antique photo of a base burner stove in a general store

base burner stove at bobcaygeon museum kawartha lakes

Art Oxford "Laurel" Base Burner Stove At Horseless Carriage Museum


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Horseless Carriage Museum “Gears” up for Opening in May!

tour at horseless carriage museum fenelon falls kawartha lakes

"Brits" Car tour at the Horseless Carriage Museum

It is a flurry of activity at the Horseless Carraige Museum as everything is being prepared for the opening of our 2012 season in May. As the museum “Gears Up”  or “Steams Up” if you prefer, for this season, we decided to look back at the wonderful visitors and tours we have previously welcomed.

general store horseless carriage museum kawartha lakes attraction

Shopping in the 1890's General Store

Our family is proud and delighted to experience so many different clubs and groups representing rare and even international car clubs as well as historical societies, school groups, church groups, motorcycle clubs, Steam Clubs, etc………. Not to mention all the lovely families and guests from around the world! The museum has gone International!

Car tours kawartha lakes fenelon falls bobcaygeon

Rain or Shine folks come from all over!

motor cycle club at horseless carriage museum

The Red Knights visit Horseless Carriage Museum

Studebaker Car Tour at horseless carraige museum kawartha lakes

Studebaker Car Tour

Horseless Carraige Museum fenelon falls, kawartha lakes, bobcaygeon

"See You Again Soon!"


We hope to see all our friends back this year at the Horseless Carraige Museum, and look forward to making new ones as well!! See you in May!

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Horseless Carriage “The Way We Were” Feature

penny farthing high wheeler bicycle horseless carriage museum fenelon falls

Studio Photo of a Man with a Penny Farthing Bicycle


We are always searching for photos that reflect how the pieces in the Horseless Carriage Musem were used in “everyday life”. We have come across some pretty spectacular ones and decided to share them in a weekly post called “The Way We Were”.

This Photo is of a Gentleman posing with a Penny Farthing High Wheeler Bicycle in a professional Photographers Studio. At that time the purchase price of such a bike was equivalent to that of an average man’s yearly income! Thus, they were generally owned by the upper crust of society. Therefore, some people greatly enjoyed having their pictures taken with their prized possesions to show off their status. However, in some cases it was the Photographic Studio who purchased the bike as a prop, for those who wanted a picture that gave them a more affluent air! Whatever the reason, these bicycles were highly prized and we are greatful to have one in our collection here at the Horseless Carraige Museum.

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Horseless Carriage Museum Acquires Rare Bicycle

I had previously written about how this rare Penny Farthing found it’s way home to our Museum between Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon. However, now that there is video footage of Richard and Steve at the actual auction where they acquired the bike, I thought I would elaborate on the story’s details a little further!

On December 27th Richard (my father in law) and Steve (my hubby) left early in the morning to drive 3 hours through a snow storm in order to get to the auction in Milton, Ontario.
They arrived at Doherty’s Auctions and viewed the bike. In all their years of “antique-ing” this was only the second Penny Farthing Bicycle that Dad and Steve had ever seen in Ontario.
They were informed by the auction staff that there was a great deal of interest in the bike as was seen by the large number of bidders registered from across Canada and the U.S. including a number of absentee bids!
Undeterred, they put on their game faces and waited for the bike to come up for bid.
As can be seen in the video, the bidding was “fast and furious”. However, when Dad thinks that something is important enough for the museum, he doesn’t give up!
They had the winning bid and were congratulated by exuberant applause from the audience.
At the end of the video, as the camera pans right, you can see our two REAL “Canadian Pickers”. Both Dad and Steve are still wearing their serious game faces, Dad with the cap and grey beard, and Steve with the glasses. Don’t let their faces fool you, they were quite happy with the purchase, but were probably worried about the drive home!!
The drive home proved to be worthy of their worry! Wet driving snow and slick roads the whole way!
The rest of the household were very happy to see them home safe!!
We all rushed over from our shovelling of the driveway to see the treasure they had brought home.
This is just another example of the crazy things this family does to save important parts of history!!

We would like to extend heart felt thanks to Patrick Doherty and his staff of Dohery Auctions. They were very gracious and accommodating!

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Fenelon Falls Museum

Our Museum between Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon will be celebrating many landmark birthdays this year.

Our 1905 Cadillac Model F touring will be 107 years old!

This beautiful car, one of the earliest known original Cadillacs, was bought new by a local Bobcaygeon doctor in 1905 from Heaslip Bros. in Toronto. Learn more about it’s fascinating story at the Horseless Carriage Museum


Fenelon falls museum attraction; bobcaygeon museum attraction; kawartha lakes museum attraction; antique car

1905 Cadillac Model F Touring Fenelon Falls




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Penny Farthing Bicycle 1878

James Starley enny farthing bicycle coventry machine company 1878

A James Starley "Penny Farthing" bicycle from 1878. Made by the Coventry Machine Company England

Our new year began with a gorgeous new addition to the museum! The “boys” drove to an auction way down in southern Ontario and came home to Fenelon Falls with this extremely rare and interesting Penny Farthing Bicycle from 1878!!!!
Dad had been waiting years to find just such a bicycle to further round out the “transportation” element of Horseless Carraige Museum. Luck shone on Dad and Steve that day, and they beat out many international bidders, including a major collector’s auction house. Thus this important part of history gets to stay in Canada!

This type of bicycle was known by many alias’,  the high-wheelerordinary, and penny
. The idea of the large front wheel was to attain greater speeds as gears were yet to be invented.

The following is an excerpt from : A Short Illustrated History of the Bicycle by Carsten Hoefer

Around this time British engineers and mechanics came up with several crucial
inventions that reduced the weight of the frame and increased riding comfort –
including solid rubber tires and the use of hollow steel tubes as the material
of choice for lighter, yet reasonably safe frames. Wheel design was much
improved with the invention of spokes and ball bearings.
The king of ordinaries was a Briton, James Starley (1830-1891). He started
out as a manufacturer of sewing machines in Coventry, but is now considered the
father of the British bike industry. His ordinaries were luxury items affordable
only for the rich, featuring such niceties as nickel-plated handlebars. Design,
workmanship and the materials used were exquisite, and a Starley cost more than
a worker earned in a year. Starley’s most popular model was the Ariel
(apparently named after the sprite Ariel in the Shakespeare play The
), which featured wire-spoked wheels – called spider wheels at the



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1899 Stanley Steam Car Birthday Celebration

1899 Stanley steam car Attraction between Bobcaygeon and Fenelon falls at Horseless Carraige Museum in Kawartha Lakes, things to do, Fenelon Falls museum, bobcaygeon museum,

1899 Stanley Steam Car

When the clock strikes midnight this Saturday night, we will be celebrating the 113th birthday of the Stanley Steam Car!!!!!
This rare (only 3 exist) little locomobile is dad’s pride and joy. It is the oldest running car in Canada.
Although many other of our rare “horseless carriages” will hit major milestones this year, this one is a special favorite!

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