Globe-Gazette from Mason City, Iowa on March 22, 1937 · Page 5
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

Globe-Gazette from Mason City, Iowa · Page 5

Mason City, Iowa
Issue Date:
Monday, March 22, 1937
Page 5
Start Free Trial

MASON CITY GLOBE-GAZETTE, MARCH 22 · 1937 .FIVE EXPLORING THE HISTORY OF IOWA UNIT FIVE By JOHN ELY BR1GGS INDUSTRIES This is the thirtieth story in this scries of explorations into the history of Iowa. Another industry will be described in this paper next week. 4. Pearl Buttons. Early Spanish explorers found gold and silver and precious stones in Mexico. They took rich cargoes back to Europe. The stories ol their adventures fired the imagination of every fortune hunter who heard them. America was supposed to be a land of fabulous wealth. Many a ship sailed away with plunder enough for a king. In 1857 a vessel carrying 701) pounds o£ pearls taken in American waters escaped the pirates and arrived in Seville, Spain. This cargo, worth $800,000, was destined to ornament the jewels of royal families. In contrast to this, three and a quarter centuries later, $1,500,000 was paid for clam shells without any pearls. From this harvest of shells in 1313, buttons were made, not for the splendor of royalty, but for the use of common folks. The Mississippi river.has played many roles in the history of America. First it was the mythical "Father of Waters" that lured explorers into the wilderness seeking a short way to India. Ther it was the route of fur traders anc soldiers. The steamboat came to make it a great highway of commerce. Then millions of logs were floated down to the sawmills oE Iowa. One after another each role was finished and the next begun Even while the huge log rafts stil occupied the surface of the.river fishermen in small boats began to rake the bottom for clams. During the nineties the clam fishers searched the shallow lagoons and sloughs along the Mississippi. In the low water that hat plagued the steamboat pilots they iound treasures that might hav gladdened the heart of Captain Kidd. And if that buccaneer coutc have seen no glamour in dirlj clam shells, his eyes would havi sparkled at the sight of lustrou gems of pearl that were found oc casionally in the shells. The man who seems to hav started the industry of shell fish ing was John F. Boepple. He wa not a pirate, but he did go search ing for wealth at the bottom of th river. By trade he was a butto maker from Ottense'n, Germany Believing that buttons could b made from shells as well as fror bone and horn, he came to Amer ica in 1887, bringing his tools wit him. For a.while he farmed in Illi nois but all the time he was look ing for clam beds. He found on '"·inthe'Sangamon river, another i the Rock river, a big one in th · .Mississippi near Muscatine, an a fourth in the Iowa river,- A Columbus Junction he establishe a little button shop. His lathe wa run by a foot treadle. His wer not the first pearl buttons mad were refilled with wood. Large, well-equipped were erected. factory buildings John F. Boeppte making buttons from horns and shells in his first shop. n America, ' but he was the ounder of the industry in Iowa. The fresh water pearl button ndustry really began in 1891. Tii hat year Mr. Boepple went to Muscatine to establish, a factory, ie had no money, but he had a )ig idea. He saw a golden oppor- unity to develop button making in he river cities. The tariff on imported buttons would allow American manufacturers" to charge higher prices and make money. Wiliam P. Molis, who was superin- endent of the water works at Vluscaline, favored the enterprise. He gave what time and money he could to help Mr. Boepple. The factory was housed in a cooper shop near Cedar and Fourth streets. Though local interest in the project was not very keen, eastern nerchants liked the pearl buttons from- Muscatine. The business grew. Nick^ Tom and Pat Barry, who were plumbers by trade, joined Boepple and Molis. They were inventive and energetic. The old hand machines \vere repiacei oy automatic saws and drills. Production increased rapidly.. Presently pearl button making was no longer a handicraft trade but a modern commercial enterprise Gradually " dwindled. big business practices and so he could neither assist nor compete with the men who were establishing button factories in the cities along the Mississippi. The demand of the button makers for clam shells created a new occupation on the river. Hundreds of men-became clammers: For less than $20 a small scow called i "John boat" could be rigged up for mussel fishing. Shallow .waters were dotted with these simpli craft. No experience was neces sary. and the catch was certain But clamming was not very pleas- nt. After a long day's work the ticky pile of shells had lo be owed to shore and cleaned before t was ready to sell for about a dollar and a half. The outfit of a clam fisher is imple. On each side of the scow Mr. Boepple's purl He knew little about From the beginning, Muscatine has been the center o£ the pearl- button industry in Iowa. Mr. Boepple located his factory there and others followed his example. The supply o£ shells was most plentiful in that part of the river. Improved methods in one factory were soon discovered and adopted in the neighboring plants. Manufacturers found .an advantage in the supply of skilled labor at Muscatine. By 1898 button factories were flourishing in most of the river towns. Many of these have since been closed or bought by the big companies. The peak year of the pearl-button industry was 1916. In the factories every morning flowed a stream, oi workers--men to the cutting machines, women and girls to the grinders, drills, sorters, and carding machines. Rough white disks came from the cutters. After being cleaned in tumbling barrels, these disks were sorted according lo thickness and then ground down to standard sizes. Holes were drilled and finally the buttons were polished in barrels of hot water, acid, and pumice. Next they had to be sorted again, counted, weighed and boxed or sewed on cards. The girls hazards will have quite a time of it to survive to any great extent. . A ' As we journey o'er the highway, Wilh the speed of flying planes, We'll be happier and safer, If we use our brakes and brains. -- · --Another man who it is easy to like is our friend Bob Ormsby who lives a few miles west of Dougherty and who extracted our Pointyalc from a deep, dangerous ditch one Christmas Eve when there were lots of places where \ve would rather be. But what we were going to say is that Bob has a dog of which he is very proud. It is, he says, a dog of superior · intelligence. It dearly loves to chase automobiles. But when a Phord V 8 comes along, down and shakes its head, sort of the dog doesn't budge. It just sits helpless like. __ A If a fllan Bites a Dog. T. Tipe: Today I saw an automobile towing 1 a wrecker car. Isn't that something? --R. O. H. -- · -Mason Cily Iowa Sometime in .land two forked _ stakes which w) ; o d;d lhis worl - became very support an iron pipe parallel to he side of the boat. From these pipes dangle several chains two or three feet long. Fastened to each chain are a number of four- pronged wire hooks called "crow "eet." When these are dragged slowly along the bottom of the river the clams damn on the looks and hang there. Shell forks and tongs are used in shallow water. On shore the haul is sorted. There are many kinds of shells-- ·Varty Back, Yellow Back, Mucket, Washboard, Pocketbook, Pig Toe, Maple Leaf, Elephant's Ear and Niggerhead.. All kinds of mussel shells can be used, but the Nigger- lead is the best. Being round and flat, it will produce many buttons which lake a high polish. In 1894, when clam fishing had just begun, 196,000 pounds ot shell were produced. Most of this came from Iowa. Five years later more than 47 million pounds were marketed for ?21G,000. Iowa contributed about half of the crop. Soon afterward, however, the clam beds began to yield fewer shells. By 1908 Town production had fallen to about a fifth of what it had been. Shells had to be shipped in to the button factories. As the industry grew, many button factories were established. In the first enthusiasm for the new business "every woodshed became a button shop." Everybody wanted to share in the profits. The invention of automatic machinery for large-scale production soon drove the home-made buttons out of the market. The. woodsheds skillful. Wages were paid according to the amount accomplished-two and a half cents for sewing 12 dozen buttons on cards. Yet the industry was at one lime pouring two and a half million dollars a year into wages. Steadily the local supply of shells became smaller. To ship them in added to the cost of production. Then the style o£ women's clothes changed and pearl buttons were out of fashion. A high tariff on.Japanese shell buttons protected Iowa button makers a little. New uses were found for shell producls, and the industry began to revive about 1923. Products ot the 52 factories in 1929 were valued at more than six million dollars, which was nearly a fourth of the total production in the United States. By cultivating clam beds and regulating clam fishing, the supply of shells was gradually being restored. Then Ihc depression closed many of the button factories. Several strong companies,'however, lived through the hard times and the pearl-button industry is still important in Iowa. Activity Hints. 1. Find out all you can about clams. 2. Write an essay about buttons.' . , '··'· : '".'.' ' . " · ' ' . · · · ' · · _ · . ' 3. Make a collection of as many different kinds of pearl buttons as you can find. 4. Visit a pearl-button factory if possible. March 1037 Mr. Harold Wolfe Chief of Police De Luxe and Keeper of the Peace Extraordin ary. Dear Mr. Wolfe: Well Har old, how are you and how do yot like police chiefing by this tim and it must be sort of depressing at times isn't it, or is it, to al ways be looking for tlie bad ii everybody instead of the gooc But I will say that you are doin a mighty good job of policing ani every one is for you, except pos slbly some of those you succer-i in finding the bad in. But what I wanted to say, Har old, is that there is a man wh walks across my lawn som mornings moving from the south west towards the northeast an was wondering if you could ave one of your handsome, ef- cient men sort of be standing round my residence in the north ght suburbs some morning and riien this man walks across my ,wn have your handsome, effi- icnt man ask this lawn walking nan how come and does the side- alks hurt his feet and wouldn't : be possible for him to take nother route and refrain from valking on my lawn each morn- ig and let me know what he ays for I don't see any reason vhy a fellow would walk on anther fellow's , lawn. I know 1 vouldn't walk on his lawn. It ort of raises the dickens with ny grass and my dandelion ilants. Especially now that the 'round is so cofl. Hoping you are (he same and hanking you for this favor 1 rust if you ace successful in persuading this man from refraining from walking on my lawn, you might also cause a few dozen youngsters, and some not so young from doing likewise. --T. Pipe 2 SENTENCED ON LIQUOR CHARGES Judge Graven Refuses lo Suspend Any Portion of Either Term. Judge Henry Graven sentenced leni-y Dotson, Mason City, and George C. Ryan, Charles City, to six months apiece in the county ail when they pleaded guilty to county attorney's informations Saturday charging them with liquor violations. Dotson, charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, also lost his driver's license for a year. Ryan, who was with Dr. C. H. Cords of Rudd in a car in which officers found several gallons at alcohol, on some of which no lax had been paid, pleaded guilty to illegal transportation o£ liquor. Judga Graven stated that he would suspend no portion o£ either? sentence. Dr. Cords is still out on bond in connection with the transportation charge. County Attorney M. L. Mason prosecuted the actions for the slate. Police, sheriff's officers and state and federal men co-operated in making the arresls. At Basketball Tournament. SWEA CITY--Jerome B. John son, Melvin Krumin, Don Bilsborough, Howard Hewitt attended the state basketball tournament at Des Moines last week. Arrives From Monticcllo. RAKE -- Miss Ardys Larson of Monticello, Minn., came to keep house for her brothers, Glenn and Vernon Larson, who are farming the farm formerly occupied by Hilmer Jorgenson. WALLPAPER SELLING EVENT I Don't Cry, Little Girl, | | Don't Cry | = We know how hard you work to please that man. 5 H Here's one way of tempting him--a fool-proof, = = low-costi recipe that's a cinch to make. c = APRICOT UPSIDE DOWN CAKE S = 2 cups TOWN CR1EU Flour \i cup milk =· := 2 teaspoons baking powder ] teaspoon vanilla. ~ = }4 cup butter 2 tablespoons butter if J3 1 cup sugar- i c u p brown sugar = ±± 2 egss 1 can apricots IS = Cream tlie Vj cup o£ butter and sugar together. Add well beaten egg == = yolk.s. Add milk alternately with flour, which was Bitted before menu- K! = Ured and resitted three times with baking powder. Add vanilla. Fold in a .* stiffly beaten egg- ivhitcs. Melt the 2 tablespoons of bulter In (Hi-inch = = fry Ins P"in and spread with brown sugar. Arrange a, layer ot well = = drained aprlcota over sugar. Pour coko batter over fruit. Bako In a = = moderate oven (350 degrees F.) about 1 hour. Turn out upside down. P; = Serve topped with whipped cream. ti FREE- IOO Lucky prize-winning* l° w coal recipe* if you «cnd -your grocer's name and ncldrcsa to Town Crier Flour, 1104 Board ot Trade Building, Kanms City. .Missouri Town Crier Next week: "Clay Products." Northland Choir to Be Heard in North Iowa The Northland college a capella choir of Ashland, Wis., is now on a tour of the midwestern states. The tour started Friday and will be concluded April 12. On Sunday, April 4, the choir will appear at Lime Springs and New Hampton and Monday, April 5, at Decorah. CALLOUSES.* To relieve pain, Btop pre»sure/i^ on the aore spot and safely re-- l;s^' move ca Houses--tiac these soft, fiVft cushioninB.aoothrngpadB. SolQllfe everywhere. Coit but a trifle.y^ OfScholls lino-pads A Line O'Pipe By T. PIPE Stick to the Pipe--Let the smoke blow where it will. Spring Begins March 20 Now comes the time when gentle spring, j Is due lo greet us once again; To bring us happy, sunny days, And shows of warm, 'life giving rain, Ah yes, the spring time now is due. But such is our unhappy fate, Instead of coming when it's due, 'Tis usually some two monfhs ! -late. L . . . and · Pale blue fbrgefmc-nots, woven like a Sne Lyon's brocade, on a peach ground, com- bincd with matching clastic batiste -- and for feminine froth--gay blue Talon fasteners. B'GAY combination 4807, has a Lice uplift and a M'inch skirt; Model -4808, identical in style is i inches longer. Both a r c * . . » . « * . B-GAY Step-In 5007 it 14 inches long; Model 5008 is l inches longer, t ·· r,n .Both are ... _5 B-GAY Bri it i "STa-Lo." The upper bust seetion is of net, and it is utteilf- backless! Model 8007. GOSSARD Dftmorrs As we have remarked before, pring is one ot the latest arriv- n g ; things that we enjoy in our more or less justly famous clK nale. _^__ A . Instead of arriving 1 when it is due, It is usually due long before [t arrives. To our friend Lester Campbell of Dougherty goes the honor of eporting the first robin. He saw t the evening of Saturday, March 3. And as Les is a naturalist of 10 mean ability, we doubt not lis word in the least. He knows lis robins. --· -As this Is written we have not as ycl seen a robin. But tlie week Is still younsr. A ^^^ -- TM ^^^ Simile: As dirty as an automo- oile in March. ^^^ A --~~ 9 Speaking of fast colors, the ilue on the new license plales is .he fastest turning color we know of. After a few exposures t o - t h e sun it turns almost black. . A Some colors fade, Some colors run, While some turn darker In the sun. -- O -No Others Is'ccil Apply. WANTED single or married man t o ' w o r k on dairy farm, near Mason Cily. --Classified Ad -- · -T. Pipe: John Veach who lives north of Dougherty has had a TIRED ALL THE TIME SHE TOLD KIM WHAT TO DO f EELS LIKE NEW! THANKS TO CLEVER WIFE.. tTE wasn't himself. Had too many resiles. Li nights, too manytifcddays.Scfrmedtoloa his ambition. But ha clever wife wns too smar to Jet this KO on. She insisted that he trj Nature's Remedy (NR Tablets) and he foun out what a surprising difference it made to u alaiativcof entirely v«etah!eorif!in. tledidn mind takinu NR« al all. they were «o senile and non-habit farming. They simply mad him feel like a rew man. Get n 25c bor at , any druzstore today. ardinal in his evergreen grove H winter. He is very proud of he bird and I think he is entitled o honorable mention in your olumn that such a lovely bird Kould choose John for a winter lost.-- M. D. _ _ A _ The second report of the first obin comes from our good friend Dr. Abegg of Dougherty . He ic saw two last Wednesday inorn- ng in his back yard. He says hey were fat and saucy but hav- ng hard luck finding any worms. _ £ _ Knowing John as we flo, we would say that the bird did indeed use good judgment in choosinjr a winter home. Mr. Vcacli Is one of the easiest men to like we have ever met. Here's hoping the cardinal also spends the summer with him. _ A __ Simile: As attentive as a radio audience to a radio sales talk. At thai, tho radio snlcs la las a hard life. Nobody loves lim, and few listen lo his ever he same old line if they can avoid it. -- « -How would you, dear reader, If any, like to have some few million persons refrain from listening while you in a wind naff, tone of voice, cajoled, implored, begged, bescechetl, dared, commanded lliem lo K" buy a bottle today. Or while you described to lliem "an amazinsr offer" thai utterly failed lo amaze anylliinjf. ^__ A _ In spite of all the efforts being made to do something about it, progress in Die promotion of lighway 'Safety appears to be getting no where at a rapid rate speed. The record shows an increase in the number of accidents. A large flock of remedies are proposed but the most of them are impractical or unworkable. Or just plain no good. The issuing of drivers license. has not produced results that were hoped for them. Examinations for those requesting driver license will do no good. Many ol our best and safest drivers woulc be unable to pass the simplesl form of an examination. Anc yome of the most reckless woulc pass 100 per cent. The cause for highway accidents seems lo lie mostly steadily increasing traffic, fast driving and booze. -- -- A -- -And on the olhcr hand, the proper use of brains and brake. 1 , would do much lo remedy the .situation. Get the B. B. functioning 100 per cent and highway YOUR DEALER EVERY R G USED CAR! That's right! K G means RENEWED AND GUAIUNTEED (In writing) l)y the Ford Dealer from whom you Tiurrlinsc one of thcac oiitfltamlinff used cnr values. A Ford Dealer cheerfully includes his reputation in an R G used car transaction f Of course, he has othcriuscd car bargains loo -- an as- Borlmcul of makes and models, a range of prices which makca a good used car possible for any size of pockclbook. Frankly, because of the cnthusiaslir, acccplance 'of tbo 1937 Ford V-8, your Ford Dealer is well slocked with used cars. He docan't intend to slore them -- it's expensive business. He means lo sell them -- immediately I So your Ford Dealer has pul big used cars in firsl-claaa condition, reduced prices to rock-botlom -AND if you have the faintest idea of buying a used car -or -- if you like to be thrifty and trade your present car for n better one -- NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL USED CAR BUYERS TO "GET THE BARGAIN" THEY'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! See your nearest Ford Dealer al once -- he hag THE used car you want, and the easy payment plan is just as attractive as the values he offers. F O R D M O T O R C O M P A N Y Used Car V A L

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 8,600+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Globe-Gazette
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free