East Tennessee Crank-Up


| May/June 1993



Witte Engine

Witte owned by Don Hughes of Roan Mountain, Tn.

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.