Mutterings on a Sunday. And yarn and yo-yos.

  1. Fantasy :: land.
  2. Square one :: beginning.
  3. Impostors :: fakers.
  4. Hydrate :: drink!
  5. Card :: games.
  6. Respects :: pay your.
  7. Big city :: bright lights.
  8. Alert :: DefCon 5.
  9. Scrabble :: game.
  10. Neighborhood :: These are the people in your.

* * * * *

I forgot to show you the other ball of yarn I bought on Friday.


This will be another pair of fingerless gloves. The final library craft sale until next summer will be next Saturday. I will have eight more pairs to sell (FO pictures later this week), then I can go back to knitting other things.


* * * * *

One of the original Duncan Yo-Yo factories was in the next little town north of us. One night last week their historical society showed a movie about the factory, and Smokey and I went to see it. He has always been charmed by the fact that we live sort-of near the site of the Duncan Yo-Yo factory.

What we saw was not the movie you see above.

What we saw had been filmed by an amateur back in 1948 — 1950. Silent, black & white, hand-held, unedited. Grainy, jumpy, occasionally unfocused. It was a fascinating 20-minute film that lasted an hour. Maybe it is our shorter attention spans now in the 21st century, but the film really could have used some editing when it was converted from 8mm to DVD.

Yo yo duncan
photo credit: Vox Efx via photopin cc


Fun facts about the factory:

  • Much of the film was devoted to building the original factory, and, two years later, adding on to it.
  • Construction techniques have really changed since the late 1940s.
  • The film followed the construction process right from the beginning: cutting down a tree for lumber.
  • Logs were cut into boards and planed onsite.
  • The factory was a one-story building of cinder blocks laid by hand. (Everything that passes for a factory nowadays around here is a metal building, aka a pole barn.)
  • When it was time to seal the flat roof, the tar went up one five-gallon bucket at a time, raised on a rope via a pulley.
  • When it was time to pour the concrete floor, the concrete got there by wheelbarrows.
  • Wheelbarrows of concrete were raised to the roof (no, I don't know exactly why there was concrete on the roof) on a platform jerry-rigged onto a front-end loader on a farm tractor. A workman had to ride along with it to hold the barrow in place because it was such a bumpy, jerky ride up to the roof.
  • Later on, a forklift was used to raise the platform. This ride was much, much smoother.
  • The workmen all looked like local farmers in their bib overalls and caps.
  • No one ever wore a hard hat.
  • None of the machines in the factory had any sort of guards over the spinning belts or whirling blades, nor did anyone ever wear any sort of breathing mask even when spray-painting.
  • No information in the film about the number of fingers/hands/arms/other limbs lost per workday. Nothing about respiratory ailments or lung cancer later in life, either.
  • Cigarette smoking was common, even when there were piles of sawdust everywhere.
  • All the cutting, planing, lathing, and spray-painting was done by men.
  • Assembly, attaching the string, and packing was done by women.
  • The women all all wore dresses. 

Yo yo tricks
photo credit Tom Simpson via photopincc

  • There were two yo-yo tricksters in the film showing their stuff.
  • People in the audience, many of whose parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and/or older siblings had worked in the factory, kept mentioning that one of the tricksters must be Tom Andersen.
  • Apparently Mr. Andersen was well-known locally for his yo-yo expertise.

In spite of my snarkiness above and the fact that the grainy, jumpy film gave me a headache that verged on nausea by the 45-minute mark, I did enjoy seeing this bit of local history. Many thanks to the historical society for preserving and sharing it. 

This entry was posted in Mutterings, Rural life, Yarn. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Mutterings on a Sunday. And yarn and yo-yos.

  1. Kym says:

    I won a yo-yo contest at my junior high school when I was in 7th grade. I was really good. (Clearly, I had too much time on my hands.)

  2. Bonny says:

    I never thought about how yo-yos were made, but I feel like a near-expert now!

  3. gayle says:

    Despite much practice, I could never get a yoyo to do anything but go up and down. My brother could do a few simple tricks, and my cousins were real whizzes, but I was born unable to yo…

  4. Soxanne says:

    Fascinating bit of hisory – thanks for sharing.
    Also, one of my grandmothers never learned to drive a car and she never wore “trousers” in her life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s