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The speaker is a 100-year-old White man with a grade school education from Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1968.





County: Wyoming
State: PA

Commentary:
Tunkhannock is found in Wyoming County, in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. While lumbering was once a prominent industry in the town, other industries had strong influences in the area as well. Tinsmithing (or tinning), brought over to the American colonies by English settlers, was a popular trade beginning around 1720. It involved the process of alloying tin with other metals, such as copper or lead, as well as decorating the tin by punching designs into the metal. Young men learned the craft through apprenticeships with a master tinsmith, which the speaker discusses in this segment.
Inf: Originally when I left high school, I left uh, high school when I was uh, fourteen. We didn???t call them dropouts then. [Laughter] And uh, I went to work in a hardware store here in Dunn [sic] County, O.S. Miller???s Hardware Company, which is where Fred _____ is now. That???s been there ever since 1883. That???s, has been a hardware store. So I went to work there, I got two dollars a week. [Laughter] Not an hour. [Laughter] Nope. And uh, while I was there, uh, I had an opportunity to start to learn the tinner???s trade. When I, day I was sixteen years old, they let me go in the shop, start the tinner???s trade because Fred Fuch-, Fred _____???s uh grandfather, Ben _____, was a tinner there. And uh, then afterwards, well my folks uh, Mother went down to, on the farm, take care of Grandfather _____ because his wife had died and he felt it was her duty to, so we moved down on the farm for a year. And then we came back here.

And then I went back, with O.S., with uh (Boll Billings) and Son, which was the other hardware store. And uh, they had a tinner there. Eh, Dan _____, who had come from Elmira, and Jan [sic] took a liking to me, and he left them and went back to Elmira. And he wrote me and he says, ???If you want to learn the tinner???s trade, and you???ll be a good boy and pay attention to business, uh, I???ll give you an opportunity here at Elmira, uh in the shop that I work in.??? ???Cause he was foreman in the shop up there. So I went up there and I learned the tinner???s trade there. I finished it.

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