Collection of Margaret & Lawrence Skromme-Prov-Pook 10-11-2013

Collection of Margaret and Lawrence H. Skromme, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lawrence H. Skromme, P.E. was a lover of farms and farmers all his life. He was born on a farm in Roland, Iowa on August 26, 1913, the son of Norwegian immigrant parents Austin G. and Ingeborg (Belle) Holmedal Skromme.

Lawrence Skromrne graduated from Kelley, Iowa High School in 1931 winning an agricultural scholarship for his work in Future farmers of America. He graduated from Iowa State University in1937 with honors in agricultural engineering, the first of four brothers to enter the agricultural engineering field. During his college years, he worked daily on his parents’ farm, riding to classes with a neighbor vocational agriculture teacher. He met his future wife at the Dinner Pail Club, a social organization for commuter students.

Margaret Elizabeth Gleason was born near Waterloo Iowa in 1915 and also spent her childhood on Iowa farms. She graduated with a degree in Home Economics Education in 1938 and taught a year before marrying Mr. Skromme on June 24, 1939.

While living in Michigan near Greenfield Village, Mr. Skromme designed implements for Ford-Ferguson tractors and Margaret was busy raising their three daughters, Cherry, Inga and Karen. When Margaret received a bequest of a Victorian bedroom set from her great grandmother, she began looking for accessories to furnish the bedroom. She became hooked on collecting antiques and soon Lawrence followed her interests.

Skromme was a design and test engineer at Goodyear Ti re and Rubber Co. and Assistant Chief Engineer at Harry Ferguson, Inc. where he designed tow-motors for aircraft carriers during World War II and then plows and implements for Ford­ Ferguson tractors.

Hired as Chief Engineer and later VP of Engineering for Sperry New Holland, in 1951, Mr. Skromme moved his family into a newly built home overlooking the Conestoga River, a site they bought at a farm auction. Skromme reorganized the engineering division, separating resting and design. After retirement in 1978, he became a consulting agricultural engineer for AID and the World Bank, supervising agricultural mechanization projects in developing nations.

While working to develop agricultural equipment and preserve Pennsylvania farmland, they roamed the Northeastern United States, purchasing major items of furniture, pewter, china, iron and books, as well as collecting dolls and cookie cutters to keep the girls happy. Over time, they developed a specific love of Pennsylvania and folk art especially items depicting birds, flowers and hearts, related to active life in gardening, birding, and flower arranging. Mr. Skromme’s work took him to Europe; he also visited many British locations seeking pewter and brass candlesticks.

Skromme was a registered Professional Engineer and was in many professional societies. He served as President and Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, receiving their gold John Deere Medal in 1979. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, American Society of Engineering Education, International Association of Agricultural Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Beta Pi. He served as a member of the advisory board of the U.S. Congress Committee on Science and Technology, the research advisory committee of the U .S. Dept. of Agriculture, and the Engineers Joint Council, NYC.

Skromme was one of the founders of the Lancaster Farm and Home Foundation, serving as both director and president and was an officer and director of the Lancaster County Agricultural Land Preservation Board and a member of the Governor’s Commission on Agriculture and Land Preservation. He was an active member of Grandview United Methodist Church for more than 60 years.

After retirement in 1978, Mr. Skromme , returning to his farm roots, also began collecting farm implement seats and agricultural machinery literature, which he donated to the Iowa State University Library Special Collections in 2010 (

In June of 20 12, Margaret and Lawrence celebrated their 73rd anniversary. Lawrence died in December of that year at age 99. Margaret Skromme, now 97, is leaving their family home and has decided to share some of their collection with her family and other lovers of great antiques.

Information courtesy of Pook & Pook, Inc., October 2013.

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