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They Love Restoring Old Popcorn Trucks
Since our original report about 88-year-old Bob Anderson’s popcorn wagons and trucks appeared in FARM SHOW (Vol. 32, Issue 6), we’ve heard about a couple of new projects that he took on with the help of a couple of younger helpers, who plan to continue his work.
    “Once you meet Bob you can’t get out of there,” says Denny May, a neighbor who often joins Anderson and another neighbor, Doug Erickson, in the workshop. “We like working the trucks and people like them. Some have them in museums. Another is in an air show where they sell popcorn.”
    The finished units look just like the popcorn vending machines powered by steam, built by Creators, a Chicago-based company. They started out as hand-pulled carts in 1893 and developed into horse-drawn models and eventually trucks.
    The trio finds the trucks the most challenging and appealing.
    “We made two (recently), from the frames of 1928 and 1930 Model AA Fords. The only difference is a little heavier suspension in the 1930 and different rims on the two. We built these from scratch to all the Creators specs,” May says.
    May admits the 1930 version isn’t leaving the shop. The trio made one like it before, and he regretted that they sold it. This one is his.
    The style was from a light production run, so not many were made. The modern version has a stainless steel popper area and runs on electricity “with an electrified toasty, roasty man.” They hired master craftsmen to complete some of the details - the plating and striping and glue chip glass and blue flash glass, for example. There are no decals; everything is quality craftsmanship.
    Another project they completed recently was a restoration of an original popcorn wagon from Florida.
    “They are just so cool to look at,” May says. Collectors, museum owners and vendors who use them for various venues think so too, so the popcorn units don’t stick around long.
    Currently, the trio is trying something a little different, building popcorn “cars” on frames of two Model A cars. They should be completed early next year, May says, and will be the perfect conversation piece for the guy who has everything — and likes popcorn.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Denny May (ph 715 523-3063; dnnymy@yahoo.com) or Bob Anderson, 1021 23rd St., Chetek, Wis. 54728 (ph 715 924-3820; bobent@chibardun.com).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #5