Picture a collection of nearly 100 hog-oilers, lined up as neatly as troops on a parade ground. Imagine the investment of time; the consuming passion for a bygone era. Now picture the collector: chances are, your mental image is not conjuring up an 11-year-old Kansas farm girl.
But Hannah Schroller of Randolph, Kan., offers indisputable proof that collectors come in all shapes and sizes. Now 11, she began collecting hog oilers at age 8. Her first oiler, though, was purchased for an eminently practical reason: a pot-bellied pig named Uncle Louie.
"After we got Louie, we decided to get him a hog oiler," she said.
Louie, though, has yet to properly bond with his oiler.
"He won't touch it," Hannah said. "He just wrinkles up his nose, and rubs all over a tree."
No matter. Hannah was hooked, and a collection was born. Three years later, she keeps a careful eye on a collection that includes 91 different oilers, neatly arranged in a metal building. Her collection includes a rare Sherman (only three are known to exist), patent models, salesman's samples and a unique homemade model crafted from a 1 1/5 HP Satley engine.
Hannah knows hers is an unusual hobby for an 11-year-old girl.
"Not very many people do this," she said. "But it's something I look forward to. Hog oilers are something you don't find every day. It's never dull or boring."
Much as she enjoys her hobby, it's not Job Number One for Hannah. During the summer, she spends nearly every waking moment riding horses, a good training ground for one considering a career as an equine veterinarian. Then there are the other collections: veritable herds of model horses, and a modest start in Beanie Babies. She has plans for other collections, but this already seasoned collector is hedging her bets.
"We'll just see what comes along in the future," she said. FC
For more information: Hannah Schroller, 21401 Tuttle Creek Blvd., Randolph, KS 66554.