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Workers at the Warther Museum recently found the oldest known creation of world famed carver, Ernest "Mooney" Warther. Mark Warther, grandson of the carver and curator of the museum, stated that “while preparing the home for its grand opening and repairing spouting, workers found sitting on a rafter, in the roof of the house, a walnut and hickory steam engine. Based on material and craftsmanship I believe the train was carved in 1905. How it got there we are not sure, but it was sitting in a spot sealed off from the inside of the house. Magazines from the Great Depression were also found with it, so we believe it has been there for 80 years”.

Mark Warther said, ”He destroyed most of his early works because he didn’t feel they were good enough. The locomotive found is certainly not the quality of the works in the museum, but it shows my grandfathers progression from when he first started till he was on a level of world class art”. This summer, the Warther Museum, located in Dover, Ohio will expand its tour to include the original home of Ernest “Mooney” and Frieda Warther. The Warther’s created some of the world’s most intricate works of art and now, visitors can experience the entire story of these incredible people.

After 10 years of renovations, the house now resembles the era in which the Warther’s began their life together. Several authentic items featured in old photographs will be showcased throughout the house, including Mooney’s workbench and tools, the original dining room table where Frieda would work, and of course, the carvings that brought the Warther family fame.

“This is a one-of-a-kind American story,” Mark Warther, owner of Warther’s Museum said. “This part of the tour will show that my grandfather wasn’t a hermit and didn’t just bury himself in his shop. He had a very balanced life between family, hobby, work, and travel, which is a rarity today.”

Mooney Warther, born in 1885, lived in Dover, Ohio. With only a second grade education, he began working in the steel mills, but quickly gained notoriety for his hand-made carving knives. He is most famous, however, for his carvings of walnut, ebony and ivory, particularly The New York Central coal train, The Lincoln Funeral Train, and The Great Northern Locomotive, which consists of 7,752 hand-carved pieces and moving parts.

Mooney’s wife Frieda was an artist in her own right as well. Collecting thousands of buttons for more than 70 years, she created her own original designs and layouts with her findings. Her button house still sits among the Warther’s Swiss-style gardens and is a pivotal part of the museum tour.

It is difficult to describe the artistic genius of both Mooney and Frieda Warther, but after a tour, it is easy to see that for these individuals, family came first. The opening of their home will illustrate how the Warther’s lived, showcasing the incredible talent that came out of a small Ohio town. Experience the story first hand by visiting the Warther’s Museum and witness how one man became “The World’s Master Carver.”

 

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November 2014
Warther Museum's Union Hospital
Auxiliary Christmas Tree Show
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