Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Blacksmith’

Carl Wickham Creates Miniature Civil War Wagons and Artillery

Carl wheel woodshop

Carl holds a hard-to-make wheel in his workshop.

When Carl Wickham retired, he began researching his genealogy. To his surprise, many of his relatives had been defending our country since the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War. What made the biggest impact was the fact that he had several relatives in the Civil War including his great-great-grandfather, who was killed at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Carl traveled there in 2016 to put a flag on his grave.

Carl - flag on grave

Carl visited the grave of his great-great-grandfather, who fought at Missionary Ridge during the Civil War.

   Then began the research on artillery and supply wagons that were used during the Civil War. In his spare time, he began carving a rough cannon out of wood, but it just wasn’t good enough for Carl.

Carl designs

He discovered a book with dimensional drawings of the Civil War equipment.

   He found a book, “Artillery for the Land Service of the United States,” containing detailed drawings for artillery used during the Civil War and used those illustrations to produce his 1/8” scale models out of wood.

Carl wagon 2

Carl even hand-carved the horses for this supply wagon.

   He has worked for nine years on developing his collection of models, which he often displays not only around the Ohio area but also at events in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Carl miniatures

The cannon and wagon are 1/8″ scale Civil War Miniatures.

   It’s no wonder he has great skill with woodworking as his dad was a carpenter. Carl said, “I was raised in the woodshop.” He recalls wonderful years of growing up on the farm where they had beef cattle, horses and many fruit trees. The day they got their first tractor, a ’52 Ford, was a special occasion.

   Great memories of the farm surfaced easily. Butchering hogs and beef were big events for the whole family. He especially remembers the special treat of cracklins’, a small deep-fried piece of pork fat with a layer of skin attached. Eggs were delivered to M&K in Cumberland with a stop at Young’s Feed Mill to get sacks to match for his mom to make dresses.

Carl - Welded art

Welded artwork was his favorite early in life.

   Art and mechanical drawing at Shenandoah High School started Carl on the road to being a welder. His dad had an anvil so Carl decided to try blacksmithing. This was something he learned on his own through trial and error by reading books. Blacksmithing turned out to be his favorite hobby for most of his life.

Carl and Sandy welded porch railing

Carl and Sandy stand behind the ornate porch railing he created with golden leaves.

   Carl and Sandy were married in 1968 before he left to serve in the Army. There he was a radio operator and kept track of the battalion’s equipment. Upon his return home, Carl worked at Philo Electric. When it closed he got a job which was to last for thirty-five years – a mechanic for Central Ohio Coal.

Carl Big Muskie

His job for many years was repairman for the Big Muskie.

   For most of that time, he welded on the Big Muskie fixing parts that were broken. It took a lot of welding to fix anything due to its size. He worked on it until 1991, when the Big Muskie was dismantled. During that time, Carl worked seven days a week as was always on call for needed repairs. He continued working as a welder on Central Ohio Coal equipment until his retirement.

Carl - cupboard and map

He created this beautiful wooden cabinet and an inlaid map he holds.

   This man through the years has enjoyed many different activities around the farm but is perfectly content to stay home rather than travel. His many creations are shared with his family. He never sells any of his work. Everything from beautiful wooden cupboards, stands, and wooden inlaid pictures can be found around their home.

   In his younger years, Carl enjoyed having a large garden and many flower beds. Sandy, his wife for fifty-one years, said, “Carl can do about anything.” Sometimes she has to reheat meals for him as he gets so wrapped up in his work that he forgets to eat.

Carl miniature engine line shaft

This miniature engine he made works to perfection.

   While he has done gardening, blacksmithing, and welding in the past, today his energy is devoted to the Civil War miniatures that are amazing in their accuracy. He even carved the horses that pull the supply wagon. Their harnesses were made from an old leather coat he purchased at Goodwill.

Carl showing how to make a wheel

Carl spends many hours working in his shop to make perfect miniatures.

   Carl gives all the credit to “someone up above who gave me my talents.” He enjoys all of his various creative works which feel like play to him. “I am truly blessed.”

Carl miniature tools

Compare these carved miniature wooden tools with the quarter at the bottom center.

   His next shows will be in 2020 on January 18-19 at Kabin Fever in Lebanon Valley Expo Center in PA. Following that on April 25-26, Carl will be at the Yack Arena in Wyandotte, MI. Carl always enjoys telling everyone about his miniatures!

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Dickens Mannequins on the Move Volunteers Make It Possible

What is a volunteer? Although this isn’t a Webster’s Dictionary definition, Margaret Mead seemed to understand the role of volunteers when she said:

Never doubt that a small group of thankful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

In the small town of Cambridge, Ohio, a group of volunteers may not have changed the world, but definitely have changed the face of Cambridge during the months of November and December. Over 200 volunteers work almost year round to make Dickens Victorian Village a big success.  As the director would say, “It takes a village to run things.”

After the Restoration Team worked at Dickens Universal all summer long to make and repair heads and bodies, fix or replace clothing, and even build whole new scenes, finally the day arrived to move them to Wheeling Avenue for Dickens Victorian Village.  This is no easy task to move 186 mannequins. Some of them were moved on an old trolley that was given to the village, while others were hauled on trailers.

Wonderful volunteers lined up inside Dickens Universal while mannequins were loaded onto the trailers behind their trucks and vans.  Usually this is done on the weekend, but due to Hurricane Sandy this year, it was delayed. So men appeared after work to load their trailers and take them to the appropriate spots in downtown Cambridge. Keeping them in order wasn’t a big problem as they are stored in order at Dickens Universal.  It’s a long warehouse and there’s enough room to make it appear like a walk down Wheeling Avenue – just not as much sidewalk in between!

Once downtown, finishing touches had to be made. Skirts were attached around all the scenes, most containing more than one mannequin. Then everything needed to be securely attached as a caution from further wind storms. Long metal rods were placed beside some mannequins to hold them in place.

But when it is all finished, the volunteers have a sense of pride in their long year of hard work to make downtown Cambridge have a festive air.  Even though the hurricane had made its way north, rain still fell for the entire time of mannequin invasion.  One of the new scenes, The Blacksmith, was getting its first taste of being out in the weather.

Take a walk downtown to enjoy a look at days of old. Each scene has a descriptive plaque telling a little history of that particular scene. For the volunteers, work doesn’t stop here.  During the Dickens Victorian Village season from Nov. 2 – Jan. 5, the restoration team checks on mannequins daily repairing costumes, reattaching loose items, or sometimes even changing costumes completely.  These people really care about appearances and are very particular about each scene. Yet they have lots of fun working together! As Tiny Tim might say: “God bless them every one.”

Dickens Victorian Village is open in downtown Cambridge, Ohio from Nov. 2 to Jan. 5. Cambridge is easily located as it is at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77 in beautiful Southeastern Ohio.  Perhaps you will get a chance to visit this holiday season and feel the Magic of Dickens in the air.

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