Is it possible that everyone has a hidden fascination with miniature things? For some reason little replicas of common, everyday items charm us. In childhood, boys (and some girls) varoom varoom with race cars, march with toy soldiers and shriek along with small versions of fire engines and ambulances. Girls (and some boys) spend hours with dolls (mini me?) and dollhouses and have tea parties with miniature tea sets. As we get older and our tastes become more sophisticated, we are no longer as excited by what we see, but who hasn’t looked at a Shetland pony and smiled? Atlanta’s Grant Park is the home of the Cyclorama, a miniature re-enactment of the “War Between the States” and it is popular with locals as well as tourists.
Although I don’t read alot of magazines, on occasion I have thumbed through Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping and Atlanta. Never, in my most bored state, have I been interested in reading American Woodworker. However, I live with someone who sleeps in his tool belt and of course has a subscription to this handyman’s magazine. As I picked it up one day to put it away, I saw that it was turned to the most beautifully detailed wooden replica of an old car that I have ever seen. It turns out that this car was built by William Jackson, an artisan woodworker from Indiana. As I continued to read, I learned that the amazing Mr. Jackson was also commissioned by UPS to build a replica of their first delivery truck, a 1913 Model T Ford. They were so pleased with it that they asked him to build 365,000 more-one for each of their employees. Since it took him 400 hours to make just one, he understandably declined. I visited his website at www.woodenclassicwheels.com and spent a good bit of time marveling over his many, amazingly intricate creations.
Mr. Jackson and his incredible work ignited an investigative spark in me and I started hunting. I discovered a treasure trove of delightful resources and information. While I don’t intend to make this a hobby (I don’t think), it was fun just to visit with those who have. Did you know that there is an organization devoted to miniatures? NAME is the National Association of Miniatures Enthusiasts and their website is a colorful, fun place to gawk in amazement. There are other places that you can visit, in your car or online, which will further educate and amaze you. The Toy and Miniature Museum in Kansas City and The Mini -Time Machine in Tucson provide a delightful introduction to the world of small.
Here’s a “Stumped You!”—In Oliver Twist, Mr. Bumble, in order to get rid of the “Please sir, I want more” little glutton, got him a job outside of the orphanage. What was it? (Remember our topic.)