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The Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum in Kent, Conn., opens to the public on Saturday, July 24, for the annual Engine Show. Visitors can see the museum’s many machines up close and hard at work. Photo by Lans Christensen

An Early Peek at Antique Machines at CAMA Museum


One of the big social events of the year in Litchfield County, of course, is the autumn showing of steam-powered and small-engine machinery at the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum on Route 7 in Kent, Conn. 

Normally, the museum season opens with a smaller “power up,” when the machines are brought out of hibernation and prepared for a summer of exhibitions and activity. The larger show in autumn is the “power down,” a last burst of energy before the museum closes for the winter.

Of course there were no shows in 2020. And this season’s power up in spring wasn’t a big public event. The autumn power down is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 24 to 26. 

But those who learned to live by the laws of carpe diem, or sieze the day, during the COVID peak, will know that you should never put off until September a chance to see steam-powered engines from another world and another era. 

That chance comes on Saturday, July 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when there will be a smaller-scale showing of old, small and utterly fascinating machines, doing everything from powering vehicles to husking corn. 

Think of it is an introductory session that might inspire you to come for the autumn power down, traditionally a huge outing that draws visitors from all over New England. Three generations will gape in awe at massive steam engines and giggle appreciatively at the popping and seesawing of smaller engines, all of them as charming as they are fascinating, historic and educational. 

Antique machine enthusiasts will also be on hand with tables laden with machine parts and other old-fashioned engineering bits and pieces at the tag sale.

Admission is free. There will be food for sale. To learn more, go to www.ctamachinery.com/calendar.

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