Friday, April 29, 2016

Remembering Noble & Cooley Employees

Matt Jones, NCCHP President, had fond memories of several people shown in the 1938 Noble & Cooley employee photo (see blog post). Here’s what Matt had to say:
“In looking at the employee picture of 1938, it brought back lots of memories.

I worked at Noble & Cooley when I was a kid in the mid 1960's. I have very fond memories of nine of the people in that picture, they were still employed at N&C and I worked for several of them in different departments, where ever I was needed, or more correctly put up with.

Al Petersen worked in the wood shop on the first floor of building 14 and I worked for him when I was 12 or 13.

Charlie Drolette was the floor production manager and always had a peppermint candy ready for me.

Charlie Lees ran the shipping department and used to plow the snow in the winter with the company dump truck, a 1959 ford with dual wheels.

Trygve Petersen left N&C to be the town post master.

Charles Hansen worked on the 3'rd floor of the old drum shop building gluing skin heads onto professional tambourines. He was the grandfather of several of my classmates.”
A nice example of why the NCCHP motto is, “Keeping the Drumbeat of History.”

IMPORTANT- 2016 Valley Gives Fundraising Day: Please Help!

Dear NCCHP Friends,

We’re asking everyone we know to please donate a minimum of $12 to NCCHP between now and May 3, 2016 by clicking on the Valley Gives logo at and following the donation directions, or you can simply CLICK HERE to go directly to the NCCHP donation page.

The donation process will ask you if you want to use Facebook or Google+ but if you don't have either don't worry, you have the option of clicking on "continue as guest" which will take you to a simple window that offers credit card and PayPal payment options.

We're competing with many other Pioneer Valley non-profits so every donation counts. Our goal this year is to win the $5,000 prize for the most individual donors. These funds are critically important to advancing NCCHP's mission and making necessary improvements to the museum facility.

Please talk us up far and wide! Encourage everyone you know via phone, email, Facebook and Twitter to also make a tax deductible $12 gift to NCCHP. You can also share this page via one of the share buttons below.

If you have been thinking of becoming a NCCHP member or giving an NCCHP museum membership as a gift, this is the time to do it!  Let’s combine your generosity with the power of social media and bring home the top prize! 

This year over $200,000 in special prizes will be awarded randomly throughout the day (May 3) to participating non-profits.  Please help spread the word. More unique individual donations increases the chance for NCCHP to win one of the hourly bonus prizes.

Thanks for “Keeping The Drumbeat of History” alive!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Noble & Cooley Employees, 1938

This week the archive volunteers took a little time off to visit the Granville library's "history room." There are many impressive collections including various records, family genealogies, photos, artifacts and so on.

We happened to find the photo below, depicting the Noble & Cooley work force on October 7, 1938. Amazingly the index to who's who had been glued to the back of the photo by some wise soul and is also shown here.

Noble & Cooley was Granville's major employer and provided much-needed jobs during many hard times in the rural community of Granville. In many cases local farming families worked at N&C to supplement their farm income, often doing piece-work from home depending on the season and what their farming schedule allowed. Families worked at Noble & Cooley across generations so the sense of community and dedication at the company created strong bonds.

It is worth noting how many members of various families are in the photo: Lees, 7; Petersen, 4; Richards, 3; Collier, 3; Peebles, Trench, Hodge and Jackson, 2 each. If the clock were turned back to 1900 or so you might see many of the same families, plus some Holcombs, Nobles, Rowleys, etc.

As always, you can click on the photo for a larger version:

The photo is all the more fascinating when you consider it was taken during the depths of the Great Depression and everyone shown here is no doubt grateful to have employment. Putting the photo in further context, in 1938 the Nazis invaded and annexed Austria, and began a program of constructing their soon-to-be notorious concentration camps. In September the Great Hurricane of 1938 stuck southern New England. By the day this photo was taken the German occupation of Czechoslovakia had begun. It was becoming clear to an increasing number of people in England and the United States that war loomed on the horizon. Within a few years war would touch the lives of the people of Noble & Cooley, Granville and the world like never before. Grimly historic times indeed.

Prototype Rolling Hoops Found?

Work continues on the NCCHP collection, as items and documents are removed from storage, cleaned and organized. Here are two unusual items that came to light in the attic of building 14 this week:

Rolling hoop prototype? This is more of a wheel than a hoop.
See close-up below for a better view of the wires running outward from the hub to the outer edge of the wheel.

Elaborate arrangement to secure wires, forming 8 "pizza slice" shaped segments. When the wheel is rolled the wires would be plucked by a twanger (for lack of a better name) consisting of a nail-like piece of metal driven through the wooden fork.

The sound produced is a low, off-key, depressing twong-twong-twong, which may explain why it doesn't seem to have gone into production. It appears the wires are tunable, giving hope that they might have stuck a more pleasing tune before the toy went into 100 years of storage, more or less.

A smaller version with 4 wires. This did not have a handle.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Today's Artifact: 1921 "Hoe Has No Equal" Saw Blade Crate

This item was moved to the archives today. It was used to ship a huge saw blade, around 4' in diameter, to Noble & Cooley from R. Hoe & Company, Saw Manufacturers, 504 Grand Street, New York City. Amazingly the 1921 shipping documents are intact and still attached. The value is shown as $132. The Hoe slogan is stenciled: "Hoe has no equal."

At least 4' in diameter.

Value $132. "Hoe has no equal"

"Collect" shipping waybill dated January 27, 1921

1884: R. Hoe & Co., 504-520 Grand St., NYC.  By George Edward Perine - NYPL Digital Gallery, Public Domain

504 Grand Street is now part of Cooperative Village, which includes Amalgamated Dwellings, one of the oldest housing cooperatives in the country.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Progress on the Model T Engine Exhibit!

If you've been to the museum lately you have seen the original Noble & Cooley 1923 Ford Model T panel truck. It was discovered sitting in a field by a friend of the museum who happened to notice the ancient, barely visible "Noble & Cooley" lettering on the side, and gave the museum a call. A deal was struck with the owner and the truck has been back "home" where it is gradually being returned to operating condition by a dedicated volunteer.

1923 Ford Model T originally purchased by Noble & Cooley
for $625 including spare wheels and chains.
The exhibit plan includes displaying a Model T engine next to the truck so museum-goers, especially kids, can see the major parts of an engine and understand the principles of operation. The ideal engine was located in Townshend, VT and picked up yesterday. It even has the original hand crank so the engine can be turned over by hand to show the moving parts.

Loading was easy thanks to the help of the engine owner and his Kubota tractor.

Loaded up and  ready for the trip.
The engine will be cleaned and partially disassembled to show the crankshaft, pistons and other moving parts. We could use a Model T radiator if you have one sitting around doing nothing. Doesn't have to be good since this will be a non-running display. Work on the display will take place over the '16/'17 winter with expected display in late spring 2017.

UPDATE: In addition to the Model T truck and engine exhibit there will also be a body-off exhibit showing the running gear of a 1925 Model T. It is not at the museum yet but here is how it looks right now:

What were old Model T engines used for? Just about everything. Even after the car fell apart people would convert the engines for use in sawmills and to mechanize all kinds of processes on the farm and at work. Keep in mind that the era of the Model T was followed by the Great Depression in the 1930's. Money was tight and everything had to be repurposed. That was followed by World War 2 when steel and other materials were reserved for the war effort, so old equipment continued to be used well past their normal lifetimes. Here's a great example that's still operating today: