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Steam and Ice


Steam and Ice

It’s dangerous to assume the U.S. can recover its industrial base in a pinch.

Credit: M Kunz

The Maryland Steam Show was held this past weekend, one of the most delightful festivals in the Mid-Atlantic. Over four days, a group of tractor enthusiasts, farm equipment experts and mechanical tinkerers congregate in Upperco, a village deep in rural Pennsylvania, to view and admire the finest historical tractors from the East Coast. In addition to the hulking titular steam tractors—monsters of terrible beauty, some manufactured just over the Pennsylvania line, all lovingly restored and maintained—enthusiasts bring internal combustion–driven tractors from every period of development. This year’s theme was International Harvester, the now-defunct American conglomerate that was one of the most conspicuous victims of American industrial decline in the late ’70s and early ’80s. A cloudless sky was accompanied by acres of red and white Farmalls.

It wasn’t all tractors, though; scores…

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