My Husband ( Far Guy) Writes:
“In this world there are many stories, and all the stories are one.” Those words were taken from a book titled The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.
The Erie Digger may be just a machine but some wonderful stories come from it. It is part of my story which makes it part of your story.
We will start with Charlotte Allen. Charlotte was three when her mother died and she had to go live with relatives. When she was sixteen she went to live with her best friend Rachel Moss. Rachael Moss had a brother named Lee Moss. At some point in time Rachael marries a guy by the name of Tommy Wells. Okay that is how we make the Lee Moss and Tommy Wells connection (remember they eventually partnered to buy The Erie Manufacturing Company).
Herman and Charlotte
Charlotte remains good friends with Rachael Wells and stays with the young couple until she marries Herman Henderson (my Great Uncle). Tommy Wells helps Herman get started in the Digger Business and he does well enough with the business to hire his nephew Marvin Henderson (My Dad).
There is one more connection to make. Remember in the History of the Erie Digger I mentioned there were some independent operators of Erie Diggers? Willard Abbott was one of them (he is my Uncle…my Mother’s brother.)
So these little machines designed to dispense candy came into our story from a couple of different directions.
Photos that were shared with us by Roxie (Herman and Charlotte’s daughter).
Home away from home.
Far Side Writes:
The photo above is one of the early trailer mounted joints. Looks like eight machines are permanently mounted in this trailer.
In the years before they were trailer mounted each digger machine would have been packed in its traveling crate and loaded into a cargo van. When you got to your destination or “spot” a joint would be “set up” and the “set joint” diggers unloaded and “flashed”for the spot.
Spot = City or town for a celebration or a fair.
Set Up = Taking everything out of a cargo van or truck.
Set Joint = A joint made from lumber and canvas covered that was assembled on site and dissassembled and put back in the truck at the end of the spot.
Trailer Mounted Joint = A carnival game that was housed permanently on a trailer.
Flashed = Making sure everything is clean, washing windows and dusting. Making sure you have all the prizes in their proper spots.
Roxie about 1947.
Many thanks to Roxie for sharing her old photos.