By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Dan and Annette Rubino have loaned a model White Steam Car to the Vintage Wings & Wheels Mu-seum. The model runs on steam and is radio con-trolled.


The Poplar Grove Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum held its official 2018 seasonal grand opening on Saturday, May 5. Displays this year feature a quarter scale replica of a White Steam Car; an expanded exhibit on the 1918 Curtiss Jenny airplane including the story of Colonel Sam Price who learned to fly in a Jenny in 1918; and a History of Airlines including vintage stewardess uniforms. Slims Garage has also been updated.

The White Steam Car model has been loaned by Dan and Annette Rubino. Dan’s father, Salvatore, apprenticed as a machinist wood pattern maker for International Harvester. In a job which has been outmoded, he made patterns in wood for the machinists before the pieces were created in metal. Today that is all done by computer.

Salvatore was fascinated by the steam car and created a model that actually runs on steam and was built to be radio controlled. It is based on the same model steam car that President Taft introduced into use at the White House. The case it where it is now shown was built by Steve Cavalier. The car has been opened to display its inner workings. “This thrills the car guys,” said curator Mike Frederiksen.

Not far away, the voice of Colonel Sam Price can be heard in the newly expanded Curtis Jenny exhibit.

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Miriam and Keith Mulford have loaned Curtis Jenny memorabilia to expand the exhibit at the Vintage Wings and Wheels Museum.

“My father learned how to fly in a Jenny,” said Miriam Mulford. “I have a bunch of his stuff that I have loaned to the Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum. “When World War I began, he was a pharmacist and a member of the National Guard. There were no officers in the medical corps. He transferred to the signal corps so he could be an officer.

“They thought that he and his friend, because they co-owned a motorcycle, could fly a plane. ItHe went to ground school at Ohio State University and began his flight training at Park Field in Tennessee.

“His flight instructor, Henry Brown, had a bet for a dinner with another flight instructor as to which of the two of them could get a student to solo first. My father did his solo flight after five hours and fifteen minutes of instruction and his instructor won.”

“That included the first instructional flight where grandpa was not allowed to touch the stick,” said her son Keith Mulford. “So, for the first 45 minutes didn’t count.

“The plane had no lights, no electronics, no brakes,” said Miriam. “This was really not too long after the Wright brothers flew. They were daring young men in their flying machines. It took a lot of steps to become a pilot but he did it.

“He was stationed in Japan and posted to the 12th Observation Squadron. He took pictures while standing up in the back seat.”

“They had to reach him by ham radio to tell him I had been born,” said Keith.

“After my father had become a lieutenant, he ran into his flying instructor again. ‘You’re an officer now,’ he said. ‘Can you get your hands on a plane?’ They took that plane and did hedge hopping and barnstorming. They washed its wheels in the Mississippi River, flew sideways between trees, and then some. ‘I’ve taught you how to fly,’ Brown said. ‘And I’ve taught you how not to fly. Now, forget…

For complete article, pick up the May 16 BDR.