Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Dover Ohio’

Button Designs by Frieda Warther


Frieda surrounded herself with buttons and more buttons.

Almost everyone keeps a container of buttons someplace in their home. At one time, many cut off the buttons on old clothes and kept them in a jar or can. You never knew when you might need an extra button.

Frieda Warther did much the same thing.

Frieda Button Strings

Buttons hung on strings around the walls of their dining room so she could reach them easily.

Living in Switzerland until the age of four, the family then came to the United States and settled in Dover, Ohio. Frieda was the oldest of thirteen children. It was a Swiss tradition that the oldest child would receive their mother’s box of buttons and sewing tools. Thus began Frieda’s love of buttons.

Frieda Button House

This Button House originally housed the Warther Museum to display Mooney’s trains.

Today those buttons have been used in some of the designs at the Warther Button House, which is just outside Warther’s Museum in Dover.

When Frieda first met Earnest Warther, called Mooney by his friends, their first date consisted of a field trip to hunt arrowheads. After marrying Mooney, Frieda became a wonderful mother to their five children and Mooney’s main support as he developed into a master woodcarver.

Her main relaxation came from tending the gardens outside their home and Mooney’s workshop. She designed them to remind her of her back yard in Switzerland. When the children were young, these gardens contained many vegetables as well. Today, those flower gardens provide a peaceful place to relax with many benches available.

Frieda Bank

During the depression, Mooney hid his money under the coal in this train. But Frieda knew!

Mooney frequently ‘borrowed’ items from his wife to use in his carving creations. When he needed a belt to run one of his model trains, he would borrow it from her sewing machine and replace it when he found one in his journeys. He often liked to use red and green sparkling gems on his trains as well. These he borrowed from Frieda’s brooches.

When visitors came to see all of Mooney’s carvings in those early days, they often spent the afternoon viewing trains brought from storage in the various rooms of their house and even the attic. Frieda decided in 1936, it was time for a museum, so they built the small museum, which is today her Button House.

Frieda House

Kristen, great-granddaughter of  Mooney and Frieda, stands on the porch of the Warther’s’ home.

The porch of the Warther Home gave Mooney and Frieda the perfect place to watch trains go by on tracks just across the street. From here they could also watch their children playing in a large playground Mooney had created for them. It’s no surprise that there is a red caboose there also, since Mooney carved so many trains during his lifetime.

Inside the Warther Home, you’ll learn more about Frieda and the family. They lived in their original residence for sixty-three years.

Frieda Table 2

This table served as Frieda’s workplace for most of her button creations.

Life was busy for young Frieda, so it wasn’t until she turned sixty that she began working on her button designs at their dining room table. She began experimenting with various combinations and then attached them to a board with either wire or dental floss to make beautiful hanging designs.

Frieda Button Wall Favorite

Beautiful button designs fill the walls and ceiling of the Button House.

Mooney enjoyed her artistic endeavors by saying, “Sometimes while Frieda was working, she would drill too deep and hit our table. One look at her breathtaking designs and you will realize it was well worth all the holes.” Those holes can still easily be seen.

She also used buttons to make jewelry, a button tree, chess sets and many games. Strings of buttons hung in her kitchen just waiting to be used.


This picture postcard show Frieda in her Button House.

Today many of those creations containing 73,000 buttons can be found on the walls and ceiling of the Button House. Here you will find buttons of many kinds of materials: hand-painted ceramic, pearl, metal and wooden. Amazing as it may sound, there are no duplicates in the displays.

Frieda Lincoln Button

This button design features a button in the center from Mrs. Lincoln’s inaugural dress.

One of her favorite designs has, as its centerpiece, a button from the Inaugural Dress of Abraham Lincoln’s wife. Lincoln was a favorite of the Warthers, and Mooney followed Lincoln’s philosophy of life.

Because the family loved children, Frieda made one design especially for them. It consists of Cracker Jack prizes, novelties, and what she called Goofy Buttons.

Frieda Arrowheads

Arrowhead displays by Frieda also hung in Mooney’s workshop.

If you look carefully, you can also spot her button designs in another spot – the ladies’ restroom inside the Warther Museum. Had to inquire from a gentleman visitor regarding what was on the wall in the men’s restroom. Here Frieda made a creative display of Mooney’s arrowheads he found on his trips to the country with their family. You never know where creative objects might be found.

Frieda back

The back of a button display was shown by Sheila, our guide and daughter of Mooney’s barber.

There are still unfinished patterns that Frieda had planned. Even when she was in her final days at the age of 98, she was still asking people for one of their buttons if she saw an unusual one.

Soon thousands of springtime tulips will be blooming in Frieda’s Swiss Flower Garden. Many of the spring flowers were originally planted by Freida. Stop by and relax on a bench and imagine what it would have been like to live at “Dumb Street” along the Calico Ditch.

Warthers Museum can be found easily off I-77 in Dover, Ohio. Take Exit 83 to the east and follow the well placed signs to Warthers.


Famous Endings Museum – Largest Funeral Memorabilia Collection in the World


Toland-Herzig Funeral Home in Dover features Famous Endings Museum.

What better place to have a Famous Endings Museum than a funeral home. In Dover at 803 N. Wooster Avenue, the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home has an outstanding display of funeral memorabilia from people who have made a difference in the world.


The entrance to Famous Endings gives a glimpse of celebrities.

The staff hopes that their presentation will perhaps bring back memories, or even a smile to your face, as you see some of those people who had a great influence on our lives.


This cafe setting provides a place for visitors to sit and listen to John’s stories.

Here you will find the largest privately owned collection of funeral memorabilia in the world. Everything from funeral programs, photos, newspaper clippings, and prayer cards can be viewed. Most of the memorabilia is displayed in one large room, but it has spread out to the hallways and other small rooms throughout the funeral home.


An excellent video by John Herzig helps explain his collection.

This is a rather recent collection started by John Herzig back in 1996. Up to that time, he had an autograph collection, but that was soon to change when he sent a request for the autographed picture of the late Joe Lewis, the boxer.

When he received the package in the mail, there was more than what he asked for. It included not only a picture, but also the program of the funeral ceremony. That was the beginning of his new hobby, which has evolved to over  2,000 pieces of funeral memorabilia on display today.


NASA exhibit features Ohio astronauts with Judith Resnik highlighted.

Many funerals they actually attended under special circumstances. When John heard of the public funeral of Jack Kevorkian in Michigan, he suggested to his wife, Joyce, that perhaps it would be a nice weekend for a trip to Michigan. The next day after arrival, he told her they were going to the White Chapel Mausoleum for funeral services at 9:30. Her response was, “Have you lost your mind?”

His wife has patiently endured his many attempts to find funeral programs and memorabilia. Learn more about her tolerance as you hear about the 50th birthday trip to New York City that he promised her, or their stop at a celebrity filled cemetery in L.A. on the way back from a cruise. Joyce won’t soon forget these special trips.


The family attended the funeral of John Glenn and display memorabilia.

The trips to funerals are usually family affairs. Often Joyce accompanies him but recently his son, Troy, went with his dad to a couple memorable memorial services for John Glenn and Muhammad Ali. Their programs are already in place at the museum.


John and Joyce’s son, Troy, especially enjoys the sports heroes.

John Herzig enjoys hearing stories about people who have changed the world in some way. Those are the kind of people he has honored in his Famous Endings Museum. “Each person has a story to share.”

Among his favorites are people who helped others. They weren’t big Hollywood or TV stars, but people who made a difference… and he has their funeral programs! Millard Fuller,  a self-made millionaire at the age of twenty-nine, is a prime example. Fuller gave all his money away to start Habitat for Humanity.


This large photo of William Greatbatch, inventor of the pacemaker, is surrounded by memorabilia of other inventors.

The collector placed high importance on William Greatbatch, who made the cardiac pacemaker, and Eugene Polley, inventor of the TV remote control and often labeled “Father of the Couch Potato”. This museum perhaps could be called the Influential Hall of Fame.


Steve Jobs is showcased in their entrepreneur display.

Famous Endings Museum has special admiration for Frank Inn and his love of animals. He trained popular animals such as Arnold the pig, Lassie and Benji, who he saved from a shelter. Frank’s daughter recalls, “He could train animals to do things that most people didn’t believe.” Some of those favorite animals were cremated and buried with Inn.


Invented by Eugene Polley, the first remote, Flash-matic Tuning, definitely changed our lives.

Some of visitors’ favorite exhibits are memorabilia from people who made us smile in the past, such as Captain Kangaroo and Mister Rogers. Comedian Leslie Neilson carried his sense of humor to his funeral. The packages of Kleenex he prepared for his funeral are on display there. They carried the inscription: “Stop crying. This is supposed to be a fun night. Love and laughs, Leslie.”



This lantern from Lincoln’s funeral carriage has become one of John’s favorite treasures.

Several times a year, John schedules a “Night at the Museum” where he features a special person or group of people. Visit their Facebook page or website for details. The museum is free and open for visitation Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. It’s one of those places you have to see to believe and appreciate.


Ripley’s Believe It or Not featured Herzig’s Famous Endings Museum.

Famous Endings Museum has been featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and is a frequent stop for tour coaches…especially Mystery Tours! This museum makes us look at death differently. As Randy Pausch wrote about funerals, “You can either be an Eeyore or a Tigger.” At Famous Endings Museum, they honor the contributions and memories,  as they celebrate the lives of famous people.

Visit Famous Endings Museum in Dover just off I-77 at Exit 83. Take Ohio 211 east/ Tuscarawas Avenue. Turn left on Slingluff Avenue and then right on Wooster Ave. The museum is on the left side of the street.

Discover Canal Dover History at Reeves Carriage House Museum

Dover Museum can be found upstairs at the Reeves Carriage House.

Dover Museum can be found upstairs at the Reeves Carriage House, which had a fairytale like appearance during a winter visit. Perhaps this will cool you off!

Little pieces of Canal Dover’s history can be found on the second floor of the Reeves Carriage House Museum in Dover, Ohio.  Each town needs to have their history preserved in some fashion and the Dover Historical Society has found a perfect way to showcase Canal Dover from its founding in 1807 through the Great Flood of 1913.

While this was for a special opening during the winter months, events are held here all year long. Summer is a great time to explore the Reeves Victorian House and Museum as it is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon until 4:00 from June through October 31. Then their spectacular Victorian Christmas display happens from November 11 through December 22.

This old Victrola sign advertised the business of Wnkler in Canal Dover.

This old Victrola sign advertised the business of W.A. Winkler in Canal Dover.

Reeves Banking and Trust Company was organized when local banks refused to loan money to Reeves.

Reeves Banking and Trust Company was organized when local banks refused to loan money to Reeves.

In 1818, Dover only had five buildings, three of them being taverns. But when in 1825 the Tuscarawas River was included in the layout of the Ohio-Erie Canal, growth became imminent and the first schoolhouse was soon built in a forested area on Fourth Street. Canal Dover became the tolling station on the Tuscarawas as boats traveled from the Ohio River to the Great Lakes.

Soon mills were built along the river banks making steel a growing industry. Naturally, this switch to an industrial area brought with it the arrival of the railroads in 1854. Steel became big business until a coal strike in 1920 closed mills for about a year.

When Jeremiah Reeves desired additional funds for his business operation, local banks refused to give him a loan. So in August, 1903, Mr. Reeves opened his own bank, Reeves Banking and Trust Company.  This bank continued in operation until 1982 when it merged with Huntington National Bank.

Original switchboard used in Dover.

Original switchboard used in Dover.

During WWII, most industries in the state converted their systems to supply the armed forces.  Women employed at Reeves Steel made steel castings for military use. There is a historical plaque on the Reeves Home honoring employees who lost their lives in service during WWII.

Even with the presence of mills, Dover’s water supply remained clean and was untreated until 1998. In fact, it was the last city east of the Mississippi to require sterilization of its water.

Their fire department was organized in the 1870s. The original horse drawn, wooden fire wagon on display was probably used by local firefighters. The cart was kept inside the firehouse, then pulled outside by one of the firemen. Horses were then hitched to carry it to the reported fire. While this firewagon had seats, most did not so the firemen had to run along side the wagon as it went to the fire. When someone decided to attach boards alongside the wagon for the firemen to stand on as they rode, these boards became called “running boards” because they saved the men from running.

This horse drawn fire wagon had a two man seat, which was unusual at that time.

This horse drawn fire wagon had a two man seat, which was unusual at that time.

Telephone companies operated via the switchboard for many years. Here the operator, or operators, would manually transfer each call coming in to the proper person.  An old time clock added a touch of yesteryear to the tour.

In 1908, the city was voted “dry” putting 22 saloons and two breweries out of business overnight. The Great Flood of 1913 definitely wet things down for a short time and made many changes in Canal Dover. After 48 straight hours of rain, the Tuscarawas River overflowed its banks with flood waters between three and ten feet deep.This was the end of the Erie Canal but the beginning of plans for Dover Dam to prevent future similar floods from happening.

Upstairs at the Reeves Carriage House Museum contains historic photos, interesting anecdotes, and unusual museum artifacts. The history of Dover tells the story of the United States as well. Every generation helps make our country great and strong.

Reeves Carriage House Museum can be found behind the Reeves Victorian Home off I-77 at exit 83. Take a right on Tuscarawas Avenue, left on W Front Street, right on Wooster Ave, and a left on Iron Avenue. The Home and Museum can be found at 325 E Iron Avenue. Parking is in the rear of the home near the Carriage House Museum.

Discover Elegance at J.E. Reeves Victorian Home in Dover, Ohio

J.E. Reeves Victorian Home holds many treasures.

J.E. Reeves Victorian Home holds many treasures.

“Ahead of its time” would best describe the magnificent home of Jeremiah and Jane Reeves in Dover, Ohio during the early 1900s. Today, the J.E.Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum still remain a showpiece of beauty and craftsmanship.

Reeves smokestack still stands today in acreage behind the house.

Reeves smokestack still stands in Dover today on acreage behind the home.

But Jeremiah did not always live in such grandeur. Born in England in 1845, Jeremiah began working as a boilermaker in Wales at the age of ten. When he was eighteen, he and his brothers moved to the United States, where they worked in the mills in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. A few years later in Niles, Ohio, they organized Reeves Boiler Works.

When they heard that Dover Rolling Mill was having financial problems, they purchased and reorganized that industry in the growing canal city. Reeves Steel became the backbone of industry in the Tuscarawas County area. The family remained in the iron and steel business for the rest of their lives, but had many other interests as well.

The wealthy played Whisk around the game table.

The wealthy played a card game of Whist around the game table.

When Jeremiah needed money to expand his business, no area banks would loan him the needed funds. But that didn’t deter Mr. Reeves. He opened his own bank. Over the years, he also built workers’ homes in Tin Town, a hospital, a streetcar line, Reeves Hotel and much more. Jeremiah definitely held the key to successful business encounters.

Reeves kitchen displays a warmer oven, local made teapot, and old-fashioned toaster.

Reeves kitchen displays a warmer oven, locally made teapot, and old-fashioned toaster.

J.E. Reeves wanted to help others by letting them help themselves. During the depression, a man knocked on his door, asking for money to help his family. Mr. Reeves refused to give the man cash, but told him, “I’ll give you a broom and you can sweep the sidewalks. Then I’ll pay you.”

Guide, Shirley, describes the elegant dining room with silk screen wall covering.

Guide, Shirley, describes the elegant dining room with silk screen wall covering.

Back in 1901, Jeremiah Reeves moved his family to a refurbished farmhouse on the outskirts of the growing canal city of Dover. Their Dover farmhouse became the most fashionable home for miles around. Mr. Reeves made certain that his family enjoyed all the modern facilities. In the early 1900s, this home had running water, gas heat, and electric lights. Nearly all the furniture and antiques seen in the home were originally part of the family home 100 years ago. Walls contain family photographs and outstanding artwork, while stained glass and leaded windows appear over door frames inside and out.

Next to the home stands a Carriage House Museum with a fairytale like appearance. This fancy barn actually held Mr. Reeves’ horses and carriages, and had space for a workshop.  Today inside this fancy garage, visitors will find a vast collection of vehicles: the family’s hansom, sleigh, rare electric car, and a restored doctor’s buggy. Upstairs the Carriage House features a history of Dover, when it was Canal Dover before railroads were prominent there.

Reeves Carriage House has a fairy tale like appearance.

Reeves Carriage House has a fairytale like appearance.

The mansion is open for tours, conducted by outstanding guides, for many special events such as Gatsby Night, Living History Tours, and their elegant Victorian Christmas. On a recent visit during Gatsby Night, entertainment was provided by the Moravian Choir and Big Band. Mrs. Reeves was a devout Moravian all her life, and Reeves Library can be found today at the Moravian College in PA.

The museum has been opened since 1976, when it was sold to the Dover Historical Society by Jeremiah’s grandson, Samuel, for the amount of $1.00. The family hoped that it would be preserved for its historical value…and that has been done with grandeur.

J.E. Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum can be found off I-77 at exit 83. Take a right on Tuscarawas Avenue, left on W Front Street, right on Wooster Ave, and a left on Iron Avenue. The Home and Museum can be found at 325 E Iron Avenue. Parking is in the rear of the home.

History of the Steam Engine – Ernest Warther Carvings

Ernest "Mooney" Warther

Ernest “Mooney” Warther working on one of many displays

“You have to have a vision.”  These words guided Master Carver Ernest Warther throughout his life. He instilled that concept in his family, who today can be found at Warthers in Dover, Ohio. The Smithsonian describes this museum’s displays as “Priceless works of art.”

Early in life, Ernest, called Mooney by most who knew him, worked for the railroad. When he began whittling, it seemed natural to use his passion to create the history of steam engines with moving parts.

During his early years when money was scarce, Mooney used chipped and cracked cue balls made of ivory for his trains. When he rode his bicycle around town, he would often stop at pool halls on his trips to a favorite spot, Woolworths. Cue balls, walnut, coal, mussel shells and beef bone formed his early locomotives because…they were free.

Brothers Fred and Ernest with their Famous Warther Models traveling show

Brothers Fred and Ernest with their Famous Warther Models traveling show

At this point, he no longer called it whittling, as now he carved trains to perfection. His intricate designs were displayed in New York Central Railroad and later in their traveling road show, Famous Warther Models, that carried his engines to the forty-eight continental states during its thirty year run.

Completion of one carving at a time was the order of business for this mathematical and mechanical genius. While Master Carver Mooney used walnut wood and soup bones for his early carvings, he later used ivory for the white parts of his trains and ebony for the black. None of his trains were glued, but parts were intricately pegged together.

The Great Northern Locomotive

The Great Northern Locomotive

Mooney carved one of his best and favorite replicas, The Great Northern Locomotive, in 1932-33.  The cursive words on the side were all hand carved out of ivory – each word a solid piece. The number on the side of the locomotive represents the number of pieces used – backwards; therefore, this carving contained 7,752 pieces, many of them moving.

A hobo at the train station told him about a  self-lubricating wood, arguto. If Mooney used this hardwood on the bearing surface, the parts would  never need oiling. Those trains built with arguto still run smoothly today nearly 80 years later.

Mooney enjoyed the neighborhood children stopping by his workshop. He kept a brick outside his workshop door. When children would stop by and ask Mooney to play with them, he had a quick answer. “If I throw up this brick and it stays in the air, I have to work in my shop.” The children adored him.

Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train

Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train

The eyetooth of the hippo, the finest grade of ivory, was used in the famous Lincoln Funeral Train, which Mooney carved at the age of eighty. Being a big fan of the history and philosophy of Lincoln, he paid tribute to him by carving his funeral train on the 100th anniversary of his assassination.

Types of ivory

Types of ivory

Since it was often difficult to find the treasured hippo ivory, he then settled for the second best – ivory of a walrus, and even third- that from an elephant. Much of the ivory came from baby elephants when they lost their baby tusks. You can imagine the excitement at the railroad yard as the ivory was always delivered by train.

The last carving completed was Old Ironsides in 1966. Mooney always tried to be accurate in his scale models and often used 1/2″ to a foot. Speed never figured into his carvings, as he might carve about 1,000 small pieces a month.

The Warther family story serves as an inspiration to organize your time so you can create something special, while leaving time for family first. In his eyes, everyone had a significant talent, the trick was in finding it. His exceptional natural talent for whittling and carving has filled the museum with amazing pieces. As Mooney remarked regarding his carvings, “Pretty good for a second grade education!”

Warthers can be found easily off I-77 in Dover, Ohio. Take Exit 83 to the east and follow the well placed signs to Warthers.

The Sharpest Edge Around – Warther Cutlery

Warther's signature Single Pliers

Warther’s signature Single Pliers

World’s Master Carver Ernest Warther spent a life-time in Dover, Ohio. When Ernest was three years old, his father died leaving the children to help support the family. While the youngsters were unable to attend school regularly, Ernest’s inborn abilities surfaced by chance along life’s path.

For a penny a day, young Ernest did his part by driving neighborhood cows outside of town to pasture, then returning them home in the evening. When five-year-old Ernest was driving cattle, he spotted a treasure on the ground. A pen knife! His life’s adventure was about to begin.

A few years later Ernest met a whittling hobo at the local train station. This hobo could form a small piece of wood into a moving pair of pliers by making only ten strategically placed cuts in the small, rectangular, wooden block.

Ernest, called Mooney by his friends, watched the hobo carefully before he headed off to another town. Soon Mooney was making these magical pieces with ease. During his lifetime it is estimated he made nearly 750,000 pairs of pliers, most of which he gave to children. His fastest time for carving a pair of pliers occurred on the Johnny Carson “Tonight Show” when Mooney finished in 9.4 seconds.

Whittling became Mooney’s favorite pasttime, now making double pliers and more. But as is often the case, one thing leads to another. What do you need the most for whittling, especially ebony and ivory? A sharp knife! That was something Mooney could not find. Sometimes the best way to do something is to do it yourself, so Mooney developed a knife that would keep its sharp edge.

These are the knives Mooney used himself with  their accompanying 139 blades.

These are the knives Mooney used himself with their accompanying 139 blades.

In his workshop, Mooney developed techniques for tempering and sharpening steel blades so they would hold their sharpness. For whittling purposes, the knife had to have a big handle with small blades – shorter than his thumb. His knife had 139 interchangeable blades so he could work easily with any material of any size.

Warther Cutlery knife shop

Warther Cutlery knife shop

When his mother needed a sharper paring knife in the kitchen, seventeen-year-old Mooney created a small kitchen knife for her. Soon the neighbors were all wanting a knife just like Mooney’s mother used.He added a distinguishing trademark swirl on the blade so his knives were easily recognized. Thus began the business of Warthers Cutlery, handcrafted in the USA since 1902.

Realizing his real riches laid at home, his five daily hours of carving were scheduled for early in the morning before the family awoke. After breakfast, Mooney would ride his bicycle to work at the steel mill, then spend time in the afternoon playing with the children he adored. He didn’t really care much for money; however, when the family needed something, Mooney would make knives. He never sold his carvings.

In 1912, Mooney ended his whittling with a plier tree that can be seen in a glass case today.The tree was made with 511 cuts and was featured at Ripley’s Believe It or Not. This is the point where his whittling turned to carving as he began his history of the steam engine in walnut, ebony, and ivory.

Commando Knives made during WWII.

Commando Knives made during WWII.

During WWII, a lady asked Mooney to make a knife for her son to carry with him during conflict. Mooney made 1100 Commando Knives during this time and carved the names of the military men into the handles.

Family member, Steven Cunningham, makes pliers for children today.

Family member, Steven Cunningham, makes pliers for children today.

Today the knives of Warther Cutlery are still made in Dover, Ohio with all USA products by third and fourth generation family members. They continue demonstrating Mooney’s signature pair of pliers for visitors, with children usually receiving the newly carved pair.

Before you leave, stop by the gift shop and purchase one of the Warther Cutlery knives with swirl trademark. My little paring knife, “Old Faithful”, was purchased there over twenty-five 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!

Older residents still remember Mooney riding his bicycle down the middle of the road with his white hair flying. The basket on his bicycle was always handy for items he found or was given along the way that eventually might become part of his carvings, either mechanically or in their design. While Ernest Warther worked at his passion nearly every day for 83 years, he died almost penniless, but happy beyond imagination.

Warthers can be found easily off I-77 in Dover, Ohio. Take Exit 83 to the east and follow the well placed signs to Warthers.

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