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Make It Your Own

by Leslie McManus


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One of the things I love about the old iron hobby is the way people put their own spin on it. Ron Wallis — the subject of an article in this issue — is a classic example. A relative newcomer to the hobby, he’s up to his elbows in the Wallis tractor line. Wallis tractors are exceedingly rare. Even if they were a dime a dozen, they’d be a poor fit for Ron’s home on a corner lot in town.

But Ron’s not pouting in a corner. Instead, he’s on the road, meeting collectors and getting a good look at their relics. He’s even gone on a road trip to research the company. And when he’s home, Ron starts most days by checking online auction sites for new postings of Wallis memorabilia to add to his collection. You can’t tell me that he’s not having as much fun with his hobby as the guy who has three sheds full of restored tractors.

Then there’s Joe Wurth, who restores ancient cider presses. The subject of another article in this issue, Joe was hornswoggled into his first cider press project and he’s never looked back. Today he has an amazing collection of antique presses, many of which are fully restored and functional, and he uses them to help people learn about traditional farm practices. At his family’s annual “Cider Daze” event, a vintage press produces more than a tangy beverage. “Making cider with a cider press brings families together,” Joe says. How many people can say that about their hobby?

And then there’s Ed Erb, whose collection is also featured in this issue. A member of the Amish faith living in Ohio, Ed collects antique gas-lighted lanterns. Many of his lanterns form the backbone of an extensive display, but others are put to work lighting his home. “Living a plain life provides humility,” he notes. “So living by gas-lighted lanterns in our home is very adequate.” The resulting glow is a uniquely meaningful blend of a lifestyle and a hobby.

How have you made your hobby your own? Send an email, drop a line: We’d love to hear from you! FC 

P.S. Circle Nov. 2, 2012 on your calendars: It’s the deadline for the annual Farm Collector Show Photo issue (send your favorite photos from Show Season 2012 today!) and the deadline for free show listings in the 2013 Farm Collector Show Directory. 

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