121 Fence Post Road Stafford, Virginia 22554
Have you ever said, 'I'll do it as soon as I get around TOIT.' I'm sure we all have. In the case of a 11/2 to 21/2 International McCormick Deering engine serial #LAA37238. The 'around toit' took twenty-five years.
Harland Grube, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, my father-in-law, acquired the engine from Circle Hill Cemetery, where it was used to pump water. This was in 1967. Harland wanted to restore the engine for his grandsons, because he knows its complete history and had used the engine himself. His feelings were that he might be able to preserve a small amount of history and teach the boys about early gas engines at the same time.
The engine was purchased by the cemetery in 1937. Frank Emerick, then the owner of B&.E Implements of Punxsutawney, sold it to the cemetery to run a water pump and tamper.
Each year came and went, the engine remained un restored. When the subject came up, the statement was used, 'Yes, I've got to get around toit.' Thus the engine was known as the 'AROUND TOIT ENGINE.'
Years went by, bad health fell on my father-in-law, and the task of restoring the engine was passed on to me. The engine had found a new home. The job of restoring the engine was one that, yes, you're right, as soon as I get around toit.
In the spring of 1992, while visiting me in Virginia, my father-in-law made the statement that he probably would never see the engine run before he died. With that, it was time to get around toit.
Having very little mechanical ability and no knowledge of restoring hit and miss engines, I started the restoration. A friend told' me about a gas engine show in Berryville, Virginia. In an at tempt to find out more about these engines, I attended the Berryville show.
When I was growing up my father would tell me, 'If you don't know how to do something, find someone who does.' With that statement ingrained in my mind, I listened as a gentleman at the show told me about John Ritter. John has the Ritter's Engine Shed at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Visiting John with many questions, I realized I had found someone who knew the hit and miss engines. After many phone calls to Mr. Ritter, and many trial and errors on my part, the around toit engine sprang to life. At the time, the only one around to share my excitement was my wife, who really didn't understand what had been accomplished. First, a non-mechanical person had just completely restored a fifty-year-old engine, to show condition. Secondly, her father would get to see it run. Third, those two little boys are now 27 and 33 years of age with children of their own, and yes, they do enjoy hearing and seeing the history of this little 'Around Toit Engine.'