East Tennessee Crank-Up

By Staff
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Witte owned by Don Hughes of Roan Mountain, Tn.
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Rare Springfield owned by Roy Scholl of Sugar Grove, N.C.

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.

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