At their first Whitin Spindle Hobby Show, in September 1951, high school classmates at Northbridge High- Michael Goshgarian and Paul Rondeau- were fascinated and mesmerized by the wood carving done of an elm tree's leaf fro the very skillful hands of Timothy Grady. However, this event was to be the second show of the Whitin Spindle, and it was held in the Memorial Gymnasium on September 27, 28, and 29 of 1951. Over 6,000 people witnessed the fifty exhibitors demonstrate their skills and display collections, from Oliver Tremblay's 35 foot ocean cabin cruiser, to the many wood carvings of Joseph Hetherington,Sr. Other fascinating hobbies included leather crafts, copper relief work, silk screening, salt and pepper shakers, collections of China cup saucers along with fine curio displays from Japan. The remaining exhibits reflected a great variety of interests, trapped animals and their fur pieces, knitting displays, cabinet-making, collections of Major League ball players' autographs, model trains, archery, oil paintings, a booth by the Whitinsville Fish and Game Club, garden displays and record albums of familiar music of the times.         
       What led to the successes of these past Hobby Shows? Perhaps it was the keen interest and abilities of the SHOP workers. Also, the great teamwork and togetherness, and tenacious spirit of the members of the Hobby Show Committee, which planned the exhibits, contributed greatly to their popularity among town residents. ( 5 more p"'s)



The first of many interesting old and unusual hobby clubs in the Blackstone Valley was the Model Plane Club. This club was started by Francis Joslin, Jerry Bagdasarian and Al Jemlich around 1930 and had 25 members who enjoyed building flying model airplanes. Several members had attained recognition for their model planes. Bob Bosma was the first to get a trophy. He also received the class 5 award for his speed ship in a competition among model clubs from Worcester, Webster and Whitinsville . John Bosma held a class G record with a McCoy -engined plane, ( his own creation and design) which attained a speed of 150 miles per hour! Phil Dion, club president, later won second prize at a WebsterMA meet, along with Donald Landry's scale model of a A-26-A which won him a trophy presented by the mayor of Worcester, England during during that celebration of the Centennial Week held in Worcester, MA. Now, some facts about this hobby.
      Model planes were originally made of balsa wood, which came from South America back then and weighed from 18oz to 3 lbs per cubic foot. Almost all of their models were constructed to appear just like real airplanes. A typical model consisted first with a longeron , to which the cross braces, bulkhead and stringers were attached to complete the airplane's main structure called a fuselage. This section was then covered with special paper, silk or  nylon fabric, which was sprayed with water until it tightened over the plane's framework. After the covering is in place, it is "doped" with aircraft paint. Then the wing and tail surfaces  are built the same way as the fuselage. These motors that powered the models ranged from .09 to .61cubic inch displacement and had (RPMS) propellar revolutions per minute from 300 to 20,000. Fuel used depended upon the chosen motor, but SAE oil, white gas or a mixture of castor oil and methanol were most often used. Model kits that had all the parts could be purchased at any hobby shop. Then, they cost only $1 to $17 ! It was true that Fiske Furniture and later on, Western Auto Stores, sold the first kits at their Church St. stores in downtown Whitinsville. Now for some aerodynamics. (3 more P"'s)
      The flight of the miniature planes was controlled by a handle held by the operator. The plane was connected to its handle by 2 steel wires no larger than .016 inches in diameter. These were connected through the plane's center of gravity. A connecting rod then ran from the bell crank to the elevator of the model plane. The length of the flight wire varied with the particular size of the model. A small plane was equipped usually with a flight wire of 35 feet in length. For a medium-sized model , a wire 50 feet long was used, and for the largest model, one needed at least 70 feet of wire.
     After the plane "took off", the "flyer" allowed his model to describe a circular path around and above his position. In order to make the plane climb higher while in flight, the flyer or operator, pulls back on the control handle. Then the handle is tilted and the plane dives. And so the operator could imitate all the varied and distinguishable features and motions of an actual flying airplane.
       It bears mentioning briefly, that employees  of various departments of THE SHOP shared their enjoyment and had their special pastimes featured in many WHITIN SPINDLE articles. Among the multitudinous choices of hobbies done by the mill workers included the following: the building of clipper ships to scale (Burton Robie, electrical dept), plug casting (Alphonse Sunn, automatic screw job), building a deluxe cabin cruiser(Oliver Tremblay, tool job), raising turkeys (Ernie Buker, planet dept), raising Yukon mink, Frank Libbey, Guard Div., goat-tending and herding(Jacob Wiersma), cast iron room, radio hamming by 4 employees, composing plays and poems (Russell Bailey, tool job), making model airplane engines(Ed Reeves, method's dept, collecting Oriental curios (Mr & Mrs James Cooper, research div and finally, making friends with dolls, ( Louise Bedford). Would the creative abilities and developed talents of today's workers pale in comparison ? In spite of having many time-saving devices, we labor with much effort and although we have more leisure time, it is hardly as productive and long lasting as the hobbies of the mill workers.                                         Source: THE WHITIN SPINDLE (Vol 1 no 9) October 1948 p. 9

 


 


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