Farm Heritage Days Keeps Rural Heritage Alive

Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club's Farm Heritage Days remember the past

| January 2000

When John Roop of Walkersville, Md., takes his 1930 Reid oil field engine to an antique machinery show, his wife Anne Marie and their 5-year-old son, Joey, go with him. 

A member and former president of the Maryland Antique Tractor Club, John and his family attended the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club's annual Farm Heritage Days, held the fourth weekend in September. Joey brought along his miniature steam engines and impressed visitors with his accurate imitation of the sound of his dad's oil field engine pumping away. The family had already spent a week in Sistersville, W.Va., at the annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival. An October trip took them to the annual show at the John K. Parlett Farm Life Museum at Charlotte Hall, Md.

"The whole family's involved," John said. "It means a lot to us to go out and show the public how things used to be. We hope our son takes an interest."

John developed a love of antique tractors and engines while growing up on a 400-acre farm in New Windsor, Md. Today he lives in a suburban townhouse, but is able to keep his collectibles at the family farm. He is particularly interested in oil field engines.

"Allen Etzler of New Market (Md.) got me interested," he said. "He's the 'doctor' and he helped me get this one running. I like the engines and what they did. They were used in northwestern Pennsylvania. They ran for years on natural gas from the well head, and were used by companies and private individuals. People used the natural gas in their homes, and sold the oil. This one runs on propane."

John, who drives a truck for a bottled water company, said the engines are getting harder to find. He has given several to museums.