East Tennessee Crank-Up

Witte Engine

Witte owned by Don Hughes of Roan Mountain, Tn.

Content Tools

Larry Bennett, and Jeff Hutchings

The 1992 East Tennessee Crank-Up got off to a wet start with rain about every day leading up to the show. It rained on Friday, but held off on Saturday and most all of Sunday. We know that many more people would have shown up if the weather would not have been so unpredictable. We still managed to have a good crowd and a lot of things going on.

Because of the rain, we were only able to blow the anvil on Saturday. Blowing the anvil is a very impressive thing to see. Blacksmiths have done this to celebrate ever since the Revolution. The blacksmith sets an anvil on a hard flat place on the ground, sometimes on a flat piece of metal, with the anvil upside down and the bottom facing upward. Anvils have a crevice on the bottom and when placed upside down this crevice faces upward. The blacksmith fills the crevice with black powder. He then places another anvil on top of the first, this one being in the upright position and its crevice fitting on top of the other one. The blacksmith seals the two anvils with mud or caulking, where they fit together, to keep the explosion from going out the side. A fuse is installed and when the seal is dry it's ready to shoot. David Oliver is our local blacksmith who does this task each year. David has done considerable research on this and has perfected the technique to do it safely. He says this should not be tried except by people who have worked with the firing of dynamite. The blowing makes a tremendous explosion that shakes the ground for quite a distance. The anvil, if everything is set up right, will go 60 to 70 feet in the air and come down making an indent in the ground. The weight of the anvil is usually about 100 lbs.

We had almost 350 engines again this year and 99 exhibitors from Florida to Michigan.

Thanks to TVA, many exhibitors were treated to a tour of the Wilber Dam powerhouse and the powerhouse at Watauga Dam. Wilber Dam is one of the oldest existing and still operating hydroelectric dams in this country. Wilber Dam was completed in 1912 with two horizontal and one vertical Wes-ting house generators. Because of all the rain, all the old generators at Wilber were on line generating electricity. Getting to see these generators running is a rare sight to see, and all who went enjoyed the trip.

John Cubine of Big Stone Gap, Va., brought his grist mill, which is very different, for the whole building with mill, line shafts, and engine are mounted on his trailer for tranporting to shows. It's quite a sight to see it traveling down the road and very impressive when set up in operation grinding corn meal. Jim Cress brought his rock crusher and with the help of Don Hughes' 6 HP Economy, many rocks were crushed into gravel. Donald Samelson displayed his huge Bull tractor. We never saw a tractor quite like it.

Engine House. Engine is a very rare slide valve Otto, made in 1883 by Crosley Bros., England. Came out of Henry Ford Museum, once owned by Henry Ford.

We are very fortunate each year to have a great selection of unusual and rare engines. Don Hughes brought his nicely restored 25 HP, two cycle, Superior engine. In all we had over 30 sideshaft engines. Club members Paul Vego, John Swonger, Larry Bennett, and Benjamin Bennett worked long and hard so that we were able to see the Metcalf style Geiser, the Watkins, the Hamilton, and the Backus engine run for the first time in many years. We are thankful to these gentlemen for the great effort and contribution to make our show even better than last year. We wish to mention the rest of you who attended as spectators, exhibitors, and workers for your contribution to the show. Our exhibitor friends are what makes our show special each year. We know that a lot of hard work is necessary for you to load up and come to the show year after year, so we give you a special thank you and we hope to see you again this spring at our next show.

Our show for 1993 will be held at the same location on June 11, 12, and 13. We have several projects going on to improve this year's show. We have added two more big engines and hope to have at least one of them running, plus several other medium size unique engines running again.

For information and directions please contact Jeff Hutchings, Rt. 4, Box 1645, Elizabethton, TN 37643, 615-725-3992, or Jerome Christian, Rt. 8, Box 440A, Johnson City, TN 37601, 615-928-2556.

The East Tennessee Crank-Up is sponsored by the East Tennessee Antique Engine Association, Inc.