When Ernest “Mooney” Warther was a boy growing up in Ohio, he met a hobo who taught him how to carve a pair of pliers out of wood. Little did the hobo know, in that simple act he had started Warther on a path to becoming one of the best wood carvers in American history.
Over many decades, self-taught wood carver Mooney Warther continued to carve hundreds of wooden pliers ranging in size from tiny half-inch long versions to enormous three-foot models. His plier carvings culminated in his plier tree—511 interconnected pliers carved from a single block of wood.
After this, Mooney moved to trains, including a replica of Lincoln’s funeral train, a carved history of the steam engine, and the eight-foot- Empire State Express, the largest working wood carving in the world. Wife Freida Warther was no slouch, either, amassing a collection of over 100,000 buttons and arranging 73,282 of them in exquisite patterns within her “button house” also featured at the museum.
Tours are given by the Warthers grown grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Know Before You Go
Take I-77 to the Dover exit #83 and follow S. R. 211 East ¼ mile into Dover. Entrance is right at the first light after the railroad tracks.