Scratch a Collector, Find a Museum

| January/February 1987


We went to visit Ted Worrall at Loma, Montana to see his collection of engine books and catalogs, and learned a lot about his library and about a new farm museum in which he is interested.

It seems you can travel 11 miles on Route 87 north of Loma, and see nothing on mailboxes except the name of Worrall. Ted and his family members own all but one small patch in an 11 mile stretch.

Ted, a chatty veteran of the Pacific in World War II, has nine four drawer filing cabinets chockfull of magazines, catalogs, books and other data on both steam and gas engines. We were pleased to note some Stemgas, IMA and GEM material in the collection, which began in October, 1927. He also had three closets stacked full.

Our visit with Ted and his wife Florence started at lunch in Olma. My wife, Margaret, is a native Montanan and we drove from the home of her brother John in Cascade. Margaret knows farm engines from child hood and serves as an excellent consultant.

In his 'office', Ted pulled out drawer after drawer of valuable material, conducting a rapid-fire monologue to describe his treasures. You could spend a week there and not touch the same book or catalog twice.

Name it and he probably has it. Word is getting around about his library. People write to him or call him long distance. He has correspondents in Germany, Australia, England, and other foreign countries. People draw on him for authoritative information. Ted and his wife travel frequently. One of their most memorable trips took them to New Zealand, where they met Michael J. Hanrahan, editor of Vintage Farming magazine. It was Michael who first told us of  Ted, when we were with him at his home near Ashburton.