It is my honor to nominate my brother, the late Herman Meier, to be inducted into the EDGE & TA Hall of Fame. Herman dedicated his adult life to the preservation and sharing of history through the restoration and exhibition of countless engines, antiques, tractors and rare farm finds. Over the course of several decades, he amassed an impressive collection of petroliana, tractors, signs and gas engines; arguably one of the finest private collections on the West Coast and possibly in the nation. Each piece was carefully restored with impeccable attention to detail. When he was not traveling to exhibit his prized collectibles, he proudly displayed them in a 60 x 80 private museum built at his home to showcase the quality of his workmanship – and of course, to serve as a gathering spot for other history buffs. The condition of each treasured piece was an amazing sight to see. Even after completing (and filling) the museum, it did not stop Herman from continuing the hunt for unique or forgotten objects that he could bring back to life.
Herman was a past President and Board Member of the Inland Empire Steam and Gas Buffs, Branch 197 and exhibited at the Spokane County Fair for years. He also served on the board of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. He had a passion for history and a talent for connecting with visitors. He loved conducting demonstrations and passing along his knowledge of farming and agriculture. While proud – and protective – of his precious collection, he made these treasures available for others to experience. Whether giving an engine a crank or pumping water from a display, kids would delight in the hands-on experience. Big kids got in on the fun too! Once of my fondest memories (and my adult daughter’s too) was on a sunny day in Spokane when Herman let my 43 year-old daughter drive the “big” Case tractor around his property. Two bigger grins were never seen before!
Herman’s journey and love for engines and farm equipment began in the 40’s in the state of Washington as the middle son of a dairy farmer and cabinet maker Herald W. “Tony” Meier. Many engine and tractor buffs remember our dad “Tony” who was a skilled machinist, woodworker and mechanic with a love for restoring antique engines.
After graduating from high school, Herman joined the Army where he served at home and abroad. He met the love of his life, Marie, in France and they married and had three children. After 22 years of service, Herman retired and returned to Washington taking up residence in Spokane near Tony. They would spend countless hours in the shop sanding, grinding, painting and tinkering – which meant WE also spent hours in the shop. The price of admission was a cup of coffee or baked goods and if you could paint pinstripes or sand a little – even better! If the shop was empty, it usually meant they were on the road hunting for the next treasure or exhibiting at a show.
When our dad passed away, Herman took the operation to an entirely new level. He enjoyed the fellowship and camaraderie he found in the network of tractor and engines buffs. He loved to share his expertise with other club members and loved to call on others when he needed extra help. Some of his best friends came from the engine and tractor world and time and time again, they could be counted on when times were tough. Herman lost his wife Marie after 45 years to cancer. The engine and tractor buffs were there. When Herman died suddenly from an aneurism in 2015, the engine and tractor buffs were there. They provided love, support and many helping hands to ensure Herman was honored and that his wishes were carried out.
It was Herman’s wish to have an auction in the event of his death so that collectors, friends, and family could share in his life’s work and enjoy the treasures that brought so much enrichment to his life. It was an incredible event. I have attached the auction brochure, however, it honestly does not do the event justice. I will forever remember that day – the smell of the engines, the remarkable crowds gathering with appreciation and delight, the endless rows of engines, multiple generations perusing the catalog, waiting to bid and acting like kids in a candy store! What I remember most was the overwhelming sense of pride. This was the product of years of skill, dedication and love. This was my brother’s legacy. I still attend engine and tractor shows and every once in a while, I see an impeccably restored engine, on a cart that says “Meier Cart Company” and again, I smile with pride.