Crank-Up gets ready to for 48th annual show in Sciota

John Thompson • Jun 5, 2019 at 10:44 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The sounds of antique steam engines will once again echo down Sciota Road at the boundary of Carter and Unicoi countries this week.

The 48th Annual East Tennessee Crank-Up starts today and goes through Saturday.

This event is hosted by the East Tennessee Antique Engine Association and commemorates a time before electricity had reached most farms in the nation. That was back in a time from around the turn of the 20th century through the Great Depression, when the vast majority of the nation’s population still lived on farms.

The half-horsepower up to two-horsepower gasoline engines were an important labor-saving device on the farm for everything from corn husking to log splitting and any other task a smart farmer could figure out.

Crank-Up host Geoff Hutchings said this year’s event will have some antiques not normally seen in East Tennessee. He said that is thanks to some folks who are traveling to the Crank-Up all the way from Arizona.

While the small engines made in the East and Midwest dominate most of the collections around here, Hutchings said the ranches of the West often had engines manufactured in California. He believes the visitors from Arizona will bring some of those California models to the Crank-Up.

But those old gasoline engines aren’t all there is to the annual event. There are also shingle mill gas engines, steam engines, grist mills, diesel engines a working oil well/oil field engine from the early 20th century oil fields of Pennsylvania and Ohio, wood turning and woodworking equipment, mill engines and tractors and slide valve engines.

There are also quite a few giant engines the club has collected and has on permanent display, including a giant 120-horsepower engine that provided power for a generator to the private island of R.J. Reynolds off the coast of Georgia.

The show will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday at 2045 Sciota Road, just south of the Laurels picnic area. Signs will be posted.

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