Ernest and Freida Warther were two hard working individuals, who loved their family above all else. Their life and accomplishments can be seen in Dover, Ohio at the Warther Museum. Ernest had only a second grade education but that never stopped him from being curious about how things were made. Sometimes we think we just don’t have enough time, but Ernest made time by working from 2-7 every day before the family ever got up.
His fantastic creative abilities were inspired by a man who was making a pair of small pliers from a single block of wood. This fascinated him and led him to make multiple pliers and designs from one block.
If you are going to carve, what is the thing you need the most? A good knife! Ernest, called Mooney by his friends, couldn’t find a knife that stayed sharp and had lots of strength. Thinking sometimes the best way to get something done right is to do it yourself, he developed a knife that would keep its sharp edge. Those knives today are the finest kitchen knives you can find. Furthermore, a knife was needed to be strong enough to carve ebony and ivory. So Mooney developed quite a few different knives that can be seen and purchased at the museum.
His carvings of trains are something you have to see firsthand to understand their intricacy and detail. Smithsonian Institute says this collection is a “priceless work of art.” A favorite of young and old alike is the Funeral Train of Abraham Lincoln, which has fantastic details both inside and out. There are 64 ebony, walnut, and ivory train carvings on exhibit. Remember that every piece is carved by hand.
Even a stop at the restroom is interesting as the walls of the Ladies room displayed many of Freida’s button designs. Had to ask what was on the walls of the Men’s restroom, and the answer was framed designs of Mooney’s arrowhead collection. There is beauty everywhere.
Don’t forget to also check out Freida’s Buttons. The lady of the house made beautiful designs out of 73,000 buttons that are displayed in the original workshop. Some are just for beauty but many have a story to tell. All are quite lovely.
Outside the workshop is a lovely Swiss Style Garden. This is a peaceful place to relax as there are plenty of benches for visitors.
Just this year, the Warthers’ original family home has been opened and is part of the guided tour. You can just imagine the family with five children working and playing within its walls. Many of Mooney’s early carvings are on display here also.
Before you leave, stop by the gift shop and purchase one of the Warther Cutlery knives. My little paring knife was purchased there nearly twenty years ago and is still like new. Whenever you happen to be in the area, visit their knife shop where they will sharpen your Warther knife for life at no cost. When you stop by, they will ask you which hand you use to cut with so they can sharpen the blade accordingly. They strive for perfection.
This is a great place to take family or friends as there is something to interest all ages. Also their story is an inspiration to organize your time so you can create something special and still leave time for your family.