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John Topham and Sharon Stone, right, chat beside the restored sprayer outside of the Summerland Museum. Photo at left shows the sprayer’s condition when Topham decided to restore it.

Vintage sprayer gets new life

It’s now on display at Summerland Museum after restoraton, but donor’s identity remains a mystery.

By Susan McIver

Museum administrator Sharon Stone, John Topham and an unknown donor. Approximately 10 years ago, the


sprayer was given to the museum with the hope that it could some day be restored and displayed. Today, the sprayer can be seen outside the museum at 9521 Wharton Street. Stone continues to search for the

name of the person who donated the sprayer. “Hopefully someone will come forward with helpful information.” She also continues to raise funds

SUMMERLAND MUSEUM Horse-powered orchard spraying circa 1930.

to reach $3,500, the total cost of restoration and installation. The sprayer had been sitting outside

the Summerland Public Works compound until Topham became interested in doing the restoration. His interest in turn encouraged Stone to start raising funds to make it happen. “We undertook the project as way to help keep the spirit of the pioneers


moss from the wood parts,” Topham said. The sprayer is now painted in its

original colours of red and green. “The original rubber hose and brass

nozzle were in poor shape, but fortunately, Jim Doherty found some stored in his shed to replace them,” Stone said. The engine, a single-cylinder

restored antique agricultural sprayer is available for public viewing, thanks to Summerland

alive,” Stone said. The duo make a good team—Stone

with her interest in local history and Topham with his mechanical and woodworking background and dedication to detail. Prior to retiring in Summerland,

Topham worked in remote areas of the world doing explosives projects for CIL Mining. Subsequently, he became an artisan

woodworker known primarily for his exquisite wooden bowls. “The sprayer was in rough shape. I

had to sandblast rust off all of the metal pieces and dirt and a huge amount of

Fairbanks Morse model dating from about 1925, was fuelled by gasoline and used in conjunction with a F.E. Myers pressure pump. The engine still turns over in spite of

the block being cracked, presumably from lack of antifreeze during some winter. Topham knows the sprayer was

originally horse-drawn because the engine is mounted at the back. The sprayer was later modified to be pulled by a tractor. “It could have been in use through the

1940s, perhaps the 1950s,” Topham said. On the front of the tank is the word WINE and graduated markings from 50 to 250 gallons. “I’m certain it was never used for

wine because there were not any vineyards in this area when the sprayer was built,” Topham said. He speculated that perhaps

WINE is an acronym or indeed it was a wine cask possibly for sale in the U.S. which was used as the sprayer’s tank. The markings would presumably

have been used to measure the ratio of the volume of pesticide or herbicide to diluents such as water. Topham spent a total of 65 hours last

summer getting the sprayer in top shape for display at the Summerland Fall Fair in early September. “Turbo Mist brought in a 2012 sprayer

to sit beside it. That generated a lot of interest,” Stone said. Topham also spent many hours doing

research on sprayers used in previous times in Okanagan orchards and

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Winter 2012-13

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