Local Family Keeps Chugging Along

From left: Ray Stryker, Peggy Wall Stryker, Deb Wall and Mike Wall.

From left: Ray Stryker, Peggy Wall Stryker, Deb Wall and Mike Wall.

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 Lehman’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.

“We got everything together for Dad this year,” said Mike Wall, as his wife Deb stood close by. “He was one of the organizers of this show. He just loved it, and we wanted to make this special this year, to honor him.”

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.

One of the first handcrafted miniature engines.

One of the first handcrafted miniature engines.

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 Wall’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.

“These 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.”

SONY DSCOn the bottom of most of the pieces, there’s an engraved plate where Wall would sign his name and add the date.

Derek Rehberg, who Mike Wall calls “almost family,” reviews the high points of Bill’s 1941 Speedex tractor for a visitor new to the tractor show scene. “It’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.”

1941 Speedex tractor.

1941 Speedex tractor.

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 family’s display. “The ones on each end of the trailer are Dad’s,” says Mike. “They 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.” Even the sleds under the engines have been meticulously restored.

SONY DSCSnuggled up to the Banner trailer is one of Bill’s Wheel Horse tractors, sporting a two-wheeled, bike-like trailer. And on the hood of the tractor, there’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.