Mike Wall, Peggy Wall Stryker along with their spouses and children, put on quite a show last Saturday.
First, the Wooster family was deeply involved in organizing the Antique Tractor Show at Lehmanâ€™s in Kidron on May 11, 2013
Second, and most important, in a small corner in the rear of the show, they put together a display honoring their late father, father-in-law and grandfather, Bill Wall.
â€œWe got everything together for Dad this year,â€ said Mike Wall, as his wife Deb stood close by. â€œHe was one of the organizers of this show. He just loved it, and we wanted to make this special this year, to honor him.â€
Bill Wall passed away last October, leaving the siblings, their families, and his wife of 56 years, Maxine Ammon Wall, to carry on the family hobby of collecting, restoring and running antique hit-and-miss engines and rare garden tractors.
In his later years, Wall took up building miniature engines for his grandsons. Each engine was hand built from wood, copper and other metals, and reflected Wallâ€™s changing interests.
Grandson Chad Stryker shows off the miniatures, starting with a traditional engine. Chad and each of his brothers got a handbuilt engine every Christmas from their grandfather after he retired.
â€œThese were what he made at first, but then he went into other types of equipment. The little tiller there, that was the last one he made for all of us.â€
Derek Rehberg, who Mike Wall calls â€œalmost family,â€ reviews the high points of Billâ€™s 1941 Speedex tractor for a visitor new to the tractor show scene. â€œItâ€™s got a Model A motor, and a Model T rear axle. It was one of the first riding tractors made. This one’s pretty rare. You don’t see many of them.â€
The restored tractor is pristine, with a Ford radiator cover putting one in mind of a hot rod, and features the original vintage nameplate, which notes that the tractors were built in nearby Ravenna, Ohio.
An extensive collection of Banner hit-and-miss engines are on a trailer at the center of the Wall familyâ€™s display. â€œThe ones on each end of the trailer are Dadâ€™s,â€ says Mike. â€œThey date from 1909-1915. The smallest is a 1-1/2 horse, the one in the middle is a 4 horse, and the last one is a 3 horse.â€ Even the sleds under the engines have been meticulously restored.
Snuggled up to the Banner trailer is one of Billâ€™s Wheel Horse tractors, sporting a two-wheeled, bike-like trailer. And on the hood of the tractor, thereâ€™s a photo of Bill and his wife Maxine, clearly enjoying tooling around on the unique machine. That one charming picture says it all: the Walls are folks who love their machines–and each other.