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He Collects Antique Lift Jacks
The best place to have a flat tire in North America might be right out in front of Larry Vorisís house. The Springfield, Mo., collector has more than 200 antique jacks for lifting everything from a buggy to a train.
  Voris knows a lot about jacks. He bought a jack repair shop in 1979 and spent 26 years repairing hydraulic jacks for mechanics, homeowners and even a mortician with an embalming table. He created and built an air/hydraulic jack system to level mobile homes during installation, and he designed and installed quick lube systems for garages.
  Voris bemoans the era when quality, repairable U.S.-built jacks were replaced by cheap, throwaway jacks made in China. It made parts impossible to find and changed the jack repair business. He sold his business in 2005.
  In retirement, Voris preserves the history of jacks by buying old, U.S.-built jacks that he stacks on shelves and stashes in nooks around his 30 by 60-ft. barn. When he shares parts of his collection at shows, he likes to show their diversity by setting a small 5-lb., 1 1/2-ton Hein Werner hydraulic bottle jack next to a 260-lb., 100-ton Hein Werner jack.
  Thatís not the biggest in his collection, however. Voris needs a forklift to move around some of the jacks, such as his 600 to 800-lb. Duff Norton train jack.
  He collects all types: ratchet, bottle, hydraulic, bumper, screw-type, rack and pinion, worm and pinion, floor and scissor jacks, for example. He picked up most of them at flea markets and sales.
  The oldest jacks are wooden, likely from the 1880ís or so, used for lifting wheels on buggies. The oldest metal jacks are from the 1910ís. A big breakthrough came in the mid 40ís to early 50ís when ratchet jacks were upgraded to hydraulic jacks. Voris has two Walker jacks, models 769 and 770 with the same design, but one is ratchet and the other is hydraulic.
  ďIíve always been partial to Walker,Ē he says, noting he has at least 50 of them in his collection.
  He also likes Weaver jacks made in Minnesota. The floor jack has a simple, almost crude design, but worked very well. Blackhawk had the best bottle jacks, and Voris believes a Blackhawk roll-around jack may be the most valuable in his collection. It was made in the 50ís and has sleek lines, a cover and light. His most unique jack is a 1916 Weed chain jack with 4 ft. of small-link chain, used to install tire chains.
  A 1916 set of four ďtire-saverĒ single action jacks was used to slightly lift rubber tires off the floor.
  Lincoln, Buckeye, Eureka, Kimball, King and Simplex are a few of the other brand names in Vorisís collection. Other than removing rust to expose the model and patent date, he keeps most of his jacks as they were when he purchased them.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Larry Voris, 2340 S. Luster, Springfield, Mo. 65804 (lgvoris@sbcglobal.net).


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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #1