Monday, August 12, 2019

Pro Football Hall of Fame

It seems like I am getting further and further behind with the blog. I still have three more posts about our time in Ohio the week of the Fourth of July. Since we are back in WashPA for three months and aren't doing many news things that will give me time to get caught up, I hope.
Even though we lived most of our lives within 100 miles of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, we had never visited. Going north on I-77 you can't miss the exit when the power lines crossing the highway are attached to a goal post. 
The Hall of Fame is a huge complex that includes a stadium, practice field, research center and galleries with football memorabilia and to honor the inductees. 
Welcome to the Hall of Fame.
I finally scored a visit to the Hall of Fame.
The hallway to the first gallery is lined with a painting of showing one honoree from each team. 
November 12, 1892 is considered the birthday of pro football when William (Pudge) Heffelfinger was paid $500 by the Allegheny Athletic Association to play a game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Association. After this, teams began paying more players, thus the beginning of "pro" football. The poster is from the 1917 Ohio Championship game Massillon vs Canton.
Jim Thorpe played for Canton and lead them to three championships. He later played for six different National Football League teams.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Lockers for each of this year's inductees: Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Ed Reed, Johnny Robinson....
....Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, and Tony Gonzalez.
Yes, most of these players are huge. Nanc could fit in the mold of Jerome Bettis' leg.
A Game for Life exhibit uses holographic figures to have coaches and players tell stories of how football helped shape their lives. Joe Namath is the host and there are also presentations by George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Alan Page, Jim Brown, Curtis Martin and Steve Largent. This was one of the neater exhibits in the hall.
The locker room where A Game for Life is shown.
Every inductee has a bust made when they are enshrined in the hall. With this year's class there are now 326 members in the hall.
Every inductee also receives the famous gold jacket.
Of course our main interest was anything Steelers. Here are all the Steelers who are in the Hall of Fame.
The greatest era of Steeler football was the team that won four Super Bowls in six season. These four defensive players: Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount and Coach Chuck Noll, were with the team for all those championship. 
These five offensive players: John Stallworth, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris and Mike Webster, also played in those Super Bowls. It really was a great time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh. 
Other people who had ties with the Steelers who are in the Hall. (Top) Dick LeBeau, who is in the Hall as a player, was a coach with the Steelers for many years. Art Rooney, team founder. Tony Dungy, who played for the Steelers, was inducted as a coach. Team president, Dan Rooney. (Bottom) players from the pre-Super Bowl years; Jack Butler, John Henry Johnson and Ernie Stautner.  
The Lombardi trophy is given to the Super Bowl Champs each year. The Steelers were the first team to win six times in their eight trips to the big game. 
The play that changed Steeler football. The Immaculate Reception was a desperation fourth down pass by Terry Bradshaw that bounces in the air and into the hands of Franco Harris to give the Steelers their first ever playoff win. The following year their Super Bowl run began. 
The 1970's sure were the greatest for Steeler fans. Art Rooney with the four trophies.
Terry B's jersey. We enjoyed the Hall of Fame, but feel the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY is better. Maybe it's just that we followed the Pirates more growing up than we did the Steelers, who were not very good until the 70's.  The Baseball Hall of Fame had much more memorabilia which was really cool to look at.  If you are a Pats fan, this is a good year to visit as each year the team that wins the Super Bowl is highlighted.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Warther Museum

We have seen many interesting places during our twelve years on the road that we recommend others put on their to do list if they are in the area. On our way back to WashPA we discovered the Warther Museum in Dover, Ohio, less than 100 miles from where we lived most of our lives and after a visit we agree that everyone should put it on the must see list of fascinating places. 
The museum tells the story of master carver Ernest "Mooney" Warther and his wife Frieda. Ernest's father died when he was three so he started working at a very early age. His first job was tending cows, thus the nickname Mooney. One day he found an old pocket knife in the field. So after he met a hobo passing through Dover who taught him how to carve a pair of pliers from a single piece of wood, this set in motion a lifetime of carving.
When Ernest was 14 he lied about his age and got a job at American Sheet and Tin, a local steel mill. After getting married, Ernest and Frieda bought this home in Dover where they raised their five children.
Frieda collected buttons and during the winter would organize them by type and hang them on strings. Later she would mount them to be displayed.
In the winter Ernest did his carving in the house.
There is a small building behind the house where the mounted buttons are displayed by type in various patterns. The Goodyear blimp is made of buttons manufactured by Goodyear. 
All four walls and the ceiling are covered with buttons displayed in many unique patterns.
The family garden. The small building was Mooney's shop and the large building is the museum.
The whole family collected arrowheads and points found in the fields around Dover. They were also mounted and displayed in the shop.
Another display of their arrowheads and points. They found over 5000, most near Dover. Finding one is still something that is on my to do list.
The first complex thing Mooney did with his knife was to carve working pliers from one piece of wood and he never stopped making them for people.
Even this huge Warther W logo is cut from one piece of wood. 
He often carried this to extremes. These pliers, forming the tree at the top of the tower, are carved from a single piece of wood like the one shown in the foreground. He also carved the building modeled after the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He could close them all back to the shape of the single piece. 
His greatest one was 511 pairs of connected pliers carved from a single piece of wood using 31,000 cuts and NO waste. It took two months to complete and was only opened and closed one time during the 1933 Chicago World's Fair to prove to Robert Ripley that it could be done. 
Ernest "Mooney" Warther working in his shop.
Ernest worked in the steel mill for twenty years while doing many carvings as a hobby. This is a working model of the floor of the mill where he worked. It includes many of his friends doing the various jobs. Here is the link to a very short video of the working mill.
Mooney found that the knives he bought to do his carving did not fit his hand so he began making his own. He then began making cutlery that became so popular that he was able to quit his job in the mill and dedicate his time to making knives and working on his hobby, carving. Top are his carving knives. Bottom are the materials he used for carving; ebony, walnut, bone and ivory. He wanted to use ivory because he read when archaeologists opened Egyptian tombs, items made of ivory were still intact.  His first ivory was chipped billiard balls, but later he used tusks..   
His greatest passion was carving steam locomotives and old steam engines. All the parts were carved and then but together using carved pins, never glue that he knew would dry out.
He carved everything; pipes, chains, screws, pins and more down to the smallest part.
Mooney's model of the Union Pacific engine that weighed 604 tons. Before he started using ivory, he used soup bones that he cooked to soften. When he had enough ivory he would carve pieces to replace the bones. He even carved the letters to label his work.
These engines show the evolution of the steam engine from one proposed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1680 (top right) to the prize winning engine at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair that traveled 90 miles an hour (bottom left). Henry Ford offer Ernest $75,000 for this collection, but he turned it down. He NEVER sold any of his works as he felt if he did, his hobby would become a job. 
Another collection of ancient steam driven machines. The detail of all his work is what makes these so fascinating. He carved every part to make his models and every one of them has moving parts that show how the real machine worked. 
Top is a 1913 Erie Railroad Triplex locomotive that was unique, with three sets of drive wheels, two on the engine and one under the coal tender. Middle is a 1938 B&O engine that was Mooney's least favorite with its modern lines. Bottom is a 1930 Great Northern mountain locomotive. The ones from the 1930's were built near the end of the steam era. The last steam locomotive in the United State was delivered in 1945.   
Once Mooney was able to buy ivory, he began making more trains and engines just using it. While the use of ivory would be unacceptable today, back then it was not.
The Union Pacific No. 119 and the Central Pacific Jupiter at Promontory Summit, Utah where the golden spike was driven to celebrate the connecting of the first transcontinental railroad 150 years ago in 1869. 
Pliers and trains were not the only thing Ernest carved. These canes, carved from one piece of wood, honors President Lincoln. 
The Abraham Lincoln funeral train carved from ebony and ivory is one of his most famous works.
The detail goes all the way to President Lincoln in the coffin. 
This ivory New York Central passenger train has people in the seats. The detail of all his work is really unbelievable. The pipes and wheels are carved from one piece. 
This unfinished B&O locomotive was what Mooney was working on when he died in 1973. 
The B&O caboose in the garden and one that Mooney carved. As I said, this is a stop everyone should have on their must do list. The photos really do not do his work justice.  Seeing it up close really shows what a masterful carver he was.  We think his carvings are some of the best we've ever seen.  Since he never sold his work, you are able to see a lifetime of one man's work in one place which is very unusual. 

We have been in WashPA for three weeks. I am still way behind with the blog. I have several more things to write about before I get caught up.