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Mason County Memories

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HISTORY COLUMNS

History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News

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Now I can Speak - Carrom Co. History column Dave Petersen The Carrom Company has been a fixture in Ludington for over 100 years now, it's beginnings came in 1890 after Henry Haskell invented a wholesome game that he had hoped would have an appeal to children and deter them from hanging around pool rooms. The game was first produced by Ludington Novelty Works in which Haskell was a part owner. Over the years the company has had several name changes. In 1941 a year after Henry Haskell passed away James Angle took over and a bound publication was put together entitled " Now I can Speak, The Autobiography of a Mill" The Story of the Carrom Factory in 1941 is told from the perspective of the mill itself and the following selections are quoted from it's pages. PIC#1 Saw-room "Then there is Reinhold Schmidt, he started in 1911. he's boss of the saw room and first sees that straight grained maple and birch come in from the dry kiln and start on it's way." " I know I am not just a mill in the ordinary sense. All my long assembly of machines, stretching out over acres of floor space are mothered along by men who love them. From the big stickers through whole rooms of specially built tubular saws and planers and shapers, on to squads of ingenius sanding machines and turning lathes- on to the lowly little routers and the battery of laquer guns (boy do they show up the old time paint brush!) and on to some other machines which are in no other mill on earth- all know the feel of a friendly hand and the touch of a craftsman's skill. "Yes, I am proud (and I'm not too prejudiced either) to think that I am not just a pile of concrete and steel, of stickers and saw and lathes. I am of MEN and their patient striving; their alertness to time and change and rebuilding and improvement; I am of the pride of men; of their willing and harmonious labor and their love! Pic#2 "Fred Schmock started here when he was 18 and when they called it the Carrom Archarena Company. He worked on game boards and he developed many of the unique machines which do that job so welltoday. He is the forman of the machine room and I suspect that if the town ever ran out of razors they could pick up most any machine bit in his department and it would do just as well. His straight clean cut son Walter, came in and joined us after he finished high school." PIC#3 Peerless table "I was one of the first in the world to turn out a fine folding card table. The Peerless they called it then and peerless it is today. About 1905 one of the heavy men of the sales force stood up on it and it didn't even squeak. He called everyone within hearing and one after another they got up and held on to him- two-three-four-five men, with a combined weight of a thousand pounds! On a twelve pound table!" pic#4 Five star final in the game division " I don't try to look down the aisle of industry that reaches into the years ahead. But I'm glad that I have a chance today to say thanks to the men and women that work here and make me glad to be alive; thanks for the old friends; thanks for the new friends when they come along; thanks for my stern training and the easy confidence and conscious strength it brings today; and when tomorrow's reveille sounds I shall be ready to do my full share of greater bigger jobs to come." I am currently looking for any photographs or information regarding Justus Stearns and Stearns Enterprises which includes many local businesses, the dummy train, Stearns Motors, Carrom Co. Stearns Electric, Handy Things, and Stearns Hotel. If you have any stories or photos you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com, mail should be sent in care of the Ludington Daily News PO box 340 Ludington Mi 49431.

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