1713 E. Walnut Enid, Oklahoma 73701
The engine Frank Sr. and his brother Joe Skrdla built in 1917
from old farm equipment parts, using a 1916 model T Ford as an
Our tenth annual showing of tired old iron was held Saturday
October 2, 1993, at the Garfield County Fairgrounds. Under sunny
skies and a great atmosphere, we had our last show of the season.
Ours is a one day event for a final get together of the area old
iron enthusiasts before putting our toys away for the winter.
Among the many and varied enthusiasts were Jim Lewis of Del
City, Oklahoma, with his collection of model gasoline engines that
he built himself, and the Unruh brothers, Dean and Marlin, and
their Big Bessy. Big Bessy is a 65 HP, 1937, two-cylinder,
two-cycle Cooper Bessemer oil field engine. Attendance was good for
the local Model T Ford Club again this year. Our local club has
some mighty pretty Model T Fords that couldn’t have looked that
good when Henry Ford ran them off his assembly line. We also had
other vehicles like Harold Cooper’s 1930 Reo Flying Cloud Coupe
and Herman Moore’s excellent 1940 Diamond T 1 ton farm grain
truck. Jim White was present with his blacksmith setup in
operation, displaying samples of the skills of a first rate
blacksmith. Ron Schulz was there with his scaled down model hay
baler in action powered by a 1 HP John Deere E.
Our choice for our annual ‘King of Old Iron’ award this
year went to John L. Holden, a well deserving man from Blackwell,
Oklahoma. Misfortune came his way late in the winter of 1993 when
he was struck down by a major stroke and put out of operation. John
is a fine man who thoroughly enjoyed the shows and took a lively
part. Everyone knew John and his trailer load of engines, with some
modified to make a little extra noise. The shows aren’t the
same without him and I think everyone would like to see him return.
Lewis Clonts of Blackwell accepted the plaque for John and
delivered it to him at the rest home in Blackwell.
We have Stan Melrose, a member of our group who is a singer, who
deserves honorable mention here. Stan had his equipment set up and
entertained everyone with his talents during the midday hour of the
show. Stan entertains at various functions in the area, and as a
member of our old iron group he graciously accepted the request to
sing at this show for us.
An interesting fact about our small group here is the number of
brothers we have that work together for the cause of restoring and
demonstrating relics of the past.
This year we had the Mahaffey brothers, Keith and Lyndel,
attending for the first time after they developed an interest in
the old engines and decided to get involved for the first time this
year. Lyndel is 52 years of age and works at the Garfield County
Courthouse in building maintenance. Keith is 56 years old and works
at the Enid Board of Trade as weighmaster. They are both from Enid,
Oklahoma and we expect to see them at future shows.
Rick and Jim Mayberry are brothers of the Enid, Oklahoma, area
involved with John Deere tractors primarily the model D. Rick is 33
years of age and works as heavy equipment and truck mechanic, and
brother Jim is 47 and makes his living as a truck driver. The
Mayberrys’ interest was spurred by their father, Buddie
Mayberry, who had an interest in the old John Deere tractors. After
the death of their father, they carried on their dad’s interest
as sort of a memorial to a fine parent.
A very industrious pair are the Unruh brothers, Marlin and Dean.
They are involved with engines, tractors and home-built
contrivances that require some engineering skills. Marlin is a 57
year old and is in business for himself, Enid Electric Motor,
maintaining electric motors over a large area. Dean is 47 and
involved with maintenance at the Farmland Nitrogen Plant east of
Enid, Oklahoma. The Unruh brothers also got their interest in old
iron from their father, Harold Unruh, who was showing old iron at
the Landwehr shows west of Waukomis, Oklahoma, in the 1960s. This
show, in about 1974, moved to its present location in Pawnee,
Oklahoma, and became the Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine Show. The
Unruhs are both of Enid, Oklahoma.
The Jones boys, Bob and Charles, were bitten by the engine bug
when Charles saw some engines in Woodward, Oklahoma. A short time
later, Bob and Charles paid a visit to Dallas Womack of Fairview,
Oklahoma, and Lee Shaw of Garber, Oklahoma, looking for engines to
buy. The interest, however, was instilled by their grandfather,
Marion Smith of Homestead, Oklahoma, who planted the seed in his
grandsons’ minds for later development. Bob is 50 years old and
a maintenance supervisor at Hackney Iron and Steel of Enid,
Oklahoma, and his younger brother Charles, 49, does sales and
service in his own cash register business. Bob lives in Fairmont,
Oklahoma, and Charles lives in Sharon, Oklahoma.
There are three Ketts involved with the old iron. Danny Ketts,
age 62, the father, is an automotive mechanic in his own shop,
Billings Service Center, at Billings, Oklahoma. Mitchell Keets is
41 and farms in the Billings area. Matt-is 32 and works with a
heating and air conditioning firm in Enid, Oklahoma. Their interest
got started when Mitch bought a W-30 and with Danny having worked
at Ponca City, Oklahoma, with Wilkins Equipment, an IHC dealer, the
bug had bitten all three. They are primarily interested in
McCormick-Deering equipment and have done a fine job fixing it up
and demonstrating it at shows.
Finally come the Pralle boys of Fairmont, Oklahoma; their
interest was spurred by their father, Ray Pralle, a fine man who
passed on November 2, 1992 leaving his sons with a long time hobby
to carry on for him. Gilbert, age 61, works in the purchasing
department of G & C Inc., of Enid and Wendell, 53, is in
business for himself in Larry’s Amusement & Vending Company
of Enid, Oklahoma. The Pralles are primarily in small engines and
are faithful to the area shows during the summer months.
From the brothers above, it is interesting to note the varied
career fields of some people who are involved in the restoration
and showing of antique equipment. Everyone from businessmen to
laborers and young children to people in their 90s take part in
this hobby. There are no boundaries.
A most interesting homebuilt engine that frequents our show is
an engine that was originally built by Joe and Frank Skrdla Sr. in
1917 when they were young boys on a farm near Med-ford, Oklahoma.
This is a very crude looking but well running engine built from old
farm equipment parts as best a pair of teenage boys could come up
with. Engines were relatively new yet and not very many existed at
that time. Frank Sr. and Joe used their parents new 1916 Model T
Ford engine as a sample to build their engine (imagine what their
father was going through!), and received an education in the
internal combustion engine at the same time. The crankshaft is of
inch rod that held the fenders together on a Model T Ford and was
built in a forge and vice and hammered out. The cylinder is from a
horse drawn disc spool with a piston made of cast iron tubing. The
piston was trued up on a homemade lathe built for this purpose and
the cylinder was polished with a piece of wood and a lot of emery
paper. The polishing was done during the slack times of field work
and sometimes while doing field work. This engine has an unusual
ignition system. The spark plug is a modified Model T Ford plug and
used a Model T Ford coil powered by a telephone generator driven
directly off the engine crankshaft to the armature. The small
16-tooth timing gear and the flywheel came off a Dixie washing
machine and at this time it was discovered the timing gears were a
2:1 ratio. The 32-tooth large timing gear was then made from two
pieces of sheet metal riveted together and the teeth were cut with
a hacksaw. The ignition was made by a bolt coming off the big
timing gear making contact with another piece to fire the spark
plug at the proper time. The camshaft was made from inch rod and
operated the intake and exhaust valves which were nothing more than
oil level cocks used on a Model T Ford oil pan. The main bearings
were made from the depth adjustment parts from a Katydid Sod Plow.
The engine is also water cooled but the fuel system is not original
to the engine because they haven’t found the right parts yet.
After the engine was originally built, the educational benefit had
been successfully accomplished and interest was lost in the engine
for 32 years. Frank Skrdla Sr. retrieved the engine in 1962,
replaced the rotted wooden base, restored it and once again the
engine came to life in a blaze of glory. Joe Skrdla is 94 years old
and his younger brother Frank Sr. is 92 and presently living in the
Medford, Oklahoma, area.
This concludes the 1993 show of Enid Antique Power and we hope
to have a bigger and better show for 1994. Much appreciation goes
out to those who participated in the 1993 show and their presence
is requested for the 1994 show.