Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

Steel Mill with moving parts.

One stick with cuts to turn it into a pair of pliers.

Round Tower with Pliers Tree

Pliers Tree - 511 pair of pliers cut from one board. Sorry...

The General. The white letters are cut from Ivory and inlayed in...

Big Boy 4002. Wheels were rotating.

Lincoln Funeral Train, Ebony & Ivory, 8-feet long. Lincoln laying in State...

Empire State Express. All Ivory. Record speed of 112 MPH.

Four guys in last coach, checking speed of train. One guy has...

Great Northern. Note the scrip handwriting carved in Ivory.

Mooney's workshop with ajoining Museum building.

Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Friday, October 16, 2009, we arrived at the RV Park between Dover and Canton, Ohio. Saturday, we drove the Jeep into Dover to visit the Warther Carving Museum. This was an amazing display of the work done by Ernest “Mooney” Warther. He was truly a Master Carver who had developed his skills since he found a knife on the ground at age 5 until his death at age 87 in 1973. He would carve sticks and chicken bones until one day a passenger at the train depot showed him how to make cuts in a stick that would open to form a pair of pliers. That started him to design all kinds of things. Later he took one board and was able to make 511 pair of plies with 31,000 cuts and no shavings.

(See photo of the pliers tree

) At age 16 he “white-lied” about his age so that he could work at the steel mill to help earn money for his family. He then made a model carving of the steel mill with figures of all his friends and all parts and wheels moving. Below the model were the belts and gears that were all driven by one motor. He later started making model carvings of train engines. He started to make some parts with ivory and then he needed better knives to work on the hard ivory. He took some scrape metal from the steel mill and made better knives than he could buy. His mother complained about how dull her kitchen knives were so he made a knife for her. She liked the knife so much that she told all her friends. Then everybody wanted a kitchen knife so Mooney started a side job of knife making. Mooney was now in the process of carving the Evolution of the Steam Engine. He had about 20 engines made when the owners of the New York Central Railroad learned about the carvings of Mooney Warther. He was convinced by the railroad to leave the steel mill and in 1923 at age 37 to go work for the railroad for 5 months, promoting the railroad with his carvings. This allowed him more time to carve. Later his brother Fritz built a truck and took the carvings on the road collecting donations so that Mooney could continue to carve. Long story short. The museum is full of all of Mooney’s carvings, the still working model of the steel mill, the pliers tree, walking canes, 20+ engines of the Evolution of the Steam Engine, Epic train engines of the Railroad and more. The Epic Engines include such engines as The Casey Jones, The General, the Driving of the Golden Spike Ceremony, The Empire State Express 999 that made the speed record of 112 MPH, the Lincoln Funeral Train making a total of 60+ train engines. Also on display are 5,000 arrowheads Mooney collected and his original workshop is attached to the museum. Outside of the museum is his house and garden and in another small building is his wife’s collection of 73,000 buttons arranged in beautiful designs on the walls and ceiling. There is even a button from Mrs. Lincoln’s inaugural dress. I know I have written too much about this guy and his carvings but I must say these train carvings are exquisite. The detail is unbelievable with working wheels, tie rods and pistons on most of the models. The wheels were turning on many models that were on display. For the bearings, he used Arguto wood, which is an oily wood because regular oil would stain the woods and ivory. He carved each individual piece and attached it by pins because the glues in those days did not work. He prided himself on his accuracy of parts and had engineers try to find any mistakes. There are even accurate control levers in the cabs of the engines. As an example the Empire State Express Train (photo) had 15,000 parts and even the bridge upon which it is displayed, was built of pieces of brick (wood) and ivory between the bricks to look like mortar. Also note this, the white letters below the models is ivory that is inlayed in the wooden display base. Even the script writings below the Great Northern Train, is Mooney’s handwriting cut out of ivory and inlayed in the base of that train. Amazing! In the basement of the museum is a knife making shop which is in the forth generation of operation. In the gift shop they are quite willing to sell you their full line of kitchen cutlery. I bought a small paring knife for $20, which was their least expensive item. They offer free sharpening if you bring it back or mail it back to them. After a late lunch Carol and I drove about 15 miles to the small town of Kidron, Ohio. It is the home of Lehman’s Hardware. They sell anything that is non-electric. It started as a store for the area Amish, but when we were there on Saturday it was packed with people and none of them looked Amish to me. It was first opened in 1915 but now with many added-on rooms they sell a world of items such as: tools, hardware, toys, books, house wares, canning supplies, wood and coal stoves, oil lamps and anything else you can think of that was non-electric. I was amazed in the kitchen utensils section where they had one whole wall of cookie cutters in any shape you could ever imagine. It was an interesting place to visit even though we made only a minor purchase. Sunday, we drove about 10 miles to Canton, Ohio to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There are nine rooms full of displays starting with the history of football, history of the leagues and the starting of Larmar Hunt’s American League. A room about each team, the Super Bowls and of course the room of all those that were inducted into the Hall of Fame. There were several movie rooms but one of them was a large theater, where your bleacher seats rotate to a different movie screen. They were showing the highlights of last years Super Bowl with great close-up shots and a movie theater sound system. In the basement floor were some game rooms, snack bar and of course a gift shop. Monday, we drove the RV south on I-77 and then west on I-70, heading for Kansas City. We stopped for the night on the border of Ohio and Indiana. Tuesday night we stopped in the middle of Illinois and Wednesday night in mid-Missouri so that we could arrive in Kansas City by noon. Thursday afternoon, October 22, we had an appointment to get the oil changed in the RV after all the East Coast travels. We will remain in the Kansas City area, visiting the daughters and the doctors until right after Thanksgiving when we plan to return to Mission, Texas for the winter.

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