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He Builds Old-Fashioned Calliopes
Whether pulled by a team of draft horses or an antique tractor, an antique-style calliope wagon is sure to draw a lot of attention whether in parades or at a show. The music from calliopes can be heard up to 1/4 mile away and people love it, says Miner Manufacturing Company.
  "We're the only company that still makes brass whistle calliopes," says owner Dave Miner. After their heyday in the 1920's, calliopes died out in the 1950's. Miner's father built one in the late 1970's as a hobby, and people were fascinated by it. Dave Miner recognized the interest and built 11 of them by himself in 1984 to launch his business. The company is small, with an emphasis on quality materials and craftsmanship.
  Miner designs his calliopes based on old photos and historical information. Some customers, such as a Cincinnati sausage maker and a Wisconsin graphics company, use them to promote their businesses at events and parades. Other customers order calliopes for their collections. He'll custom build whatever people want.
  "The calliope is one of the few genuinely American instruments," says Miner, adding that people like them because they play happy, classic songs, such as "Stars and Stripes Forever."
  He adds that he is a perfectionist. "Not only does it have to look pretty, it has to sound perfect. If it's not 100 percent right, it doesn't go out of here."
  His company sells calliopes without wagons or trailers for under $10,000. With custom designed wagons, prices start at $36,000. Wagons with a calliope weigh about 5,000 lbs.
  Miner sells directly from his business, and on the internet and has sold calliopes throughout the U.S. and overseas. He also makes riverboat calliopes and Model T Ford circus trucks with calliopes.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Miner, Miner Manufacturing Co., 2208 220th St., Donnellson, Iowa 52625 (ph 319 837-6486; info@minermfgco.com; www. MinerMfgCo.com).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #6