BizStore » eBooks » MOONEY The Life of the World's Master Carver
Binding: Kindle Edition
Format: Kindle eBook
Label: Dove Publishing Company
Manufacturer: Dove Publishing Company
Number Of Pages: 137
Publication Date: 2013-07-31
Publisher: Dove Publishing Company
Release Date: 2013-07-31
Studio: Dove Publishing Company
“Unbelievable,” “Amazing,” and “Impossible” . . . those words are uttered countless times a day in several different languages in small-town Dover, Ohio, because people can hardly believe what they see. They are the tens of thousands who visit the backyard museum of Ernest “Mooney” Warther, billed as the world’s master carver, to look at what the Smithsonian Institution said are “priceless works of art.”
During a span of nearly 50 years, Mooney recreated the history of the steam engine, and major events in American history, by carving 64 scale models (one-half inch to the foot), each with intricate details and moving parts. One model required more than 7,200 parts and consumed nearly 1,400 hours of work spread across 16 months.
The most famous model is the Funeral Train of Abraham Lincoln carved from ebony and ivory and exquisitely detailed – you can see Lincoln’s sobering coffin through the car windows. Another favorite is the Empire State Express, at 8-feet long, it’s the largest working ivory carving in the world. Then there’s the popular Driving of the Golden Spike, which depicts the story of America’s first transcontinental railroad. And there’s much more.
What would give a young man, with only a second grade education, the idea to spend a lifetime carving model trains to depict American history? It all began by coincidence. “I was walking down a country road, taking the cows to pasture,” Mooney told the story countless times, “when my toe hit something in the dust. I bent over to see what it was and I picked up an old pocketknife. I tried to open it with my fingers, but I wasn’t strong enough so I used my teeth to pry open its stubborn, rusty blade. I was so proud of my new find that I quickly hunted for a piece of wood to whittle…and I’ve been whittlin’ ever since.”
Author John Hayes grew up in Mooney Warther's backyard and often visited him during the 1950s and 1960s. He wrote this biography of Mooney in 1977, three years after the carver's death, and added a new Introduction for the ebook edition, drawing on his personal memories. "You couldn’t miss Mooney because first there was his head of hair; it was white and wild, sort of like Einstein’s, but bushier," explained Hayes. "Then you heard his booming voice shouting out his magnificent stories punctuated with roaring laughter. At first sight, he looked like a scary creature from a Dickens novel, and if you hadn’t met him before, or you met him just in passing, you might dismiss him as a strange character whittling on a chunk of wood. In modern America, few parents would have permitted their children to hang out at Mooney’s for fear there was something unsavory about him. But to those of us who knew Mooney, he was a humble, lovable character, who wished the best for all the people he met, and people arrived by the busload to see him."
Through the years Mooney met presidents, business tycoons and dignitaries far and wide, but one of his favorite friends was comedian and TV personality, Henry Morgan, who wrote the book's Foreword. "Mooney Warther was a genius," said Morgan, star of television's "I've Got A Secret". "He had a personal 'tutelary divinity' who guided his fingers. To people like me, who can’t whittle a stick, Mooney was every bit as good as Michelangelo or Cellini. And, to judge by what we know of those gentlemen, Mooney was a nicer guy."
"Think that you can, and do," Mooney encouraged the millions of people who met him through the years. Today, his museum in Dover is a tribute to his achievements. People who see his carvings are awestruck. How could any one man think, let alone do, all of that?