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  • Jerry King Musser

Pin It On Lloyd

The rather common-looking image shown here wouldn't, typically, be the subject of a blog posting. But, as I came across a few images of racing cars (and touring cars) of the day pinned to a board, I became curious.

A few things stood out as I pondered these images. All came from glass plate negatives from a larger collection containing only images of Columbia and nearby communities. So, I couldn't help but wonder who would have the interest (and financial capability) to find such vehicles worth placing on a board to document them? Who would have access to something as unusual as German magazines showing race cars (?)—the driver mentioned, Willy Pöge, was a well known German racer at the turn of the century, and the caption is German. So, it seems reasonable to assume the person with such interests—in Columbia—would also possess working knowledge of a not-quite-common and expensive photographic view camera. The car places the period around 1905, when Willy Pöge was in his prime.

Then, there's the matter of the push pins holding the magazine clipping to a board.

Edwin Moore invented this sort of push pin in 1900. A few years later, when things began to pick up, he began advertising in the Ladies' Home Journal, and other publications. Mr. Moore was not a slouch. He would spend evenings making his pins, one-by-one, and would sell them the next day. His initial investment of $112.60 and a great deal of tenacity paid off. He eventually received an order for $1000 from a new company starting out in Rochester, Eastman Kodak. Edwin was off to the races, becoming so successful that, in 1912, he built a plant outside of Philadelphia. That plant remained in the same location until the 1970s. The push pins seen in this image (and others I have) are made of glass with the embedded 'pin.' From the start (and for years afterward), Edwin Moore made his pins using glass.

So, at the turn of the century, in Columbia, someone would had to have been well-read and open to new ideas to have pursued such a fresh and handy invention.

Putting all those questions together, and coming to reasonably logical conclusions —racing cars, foreign publications, photography, great curiosity, and an eye toward 'the new'—only one person comes to mind (yes, I might be a bit prejudiced): Lloyd Mifflin.

Does this make it hard fact? Certainly not. But, given what we know, it's a tantilizing conclusion to make. So, I'm gonna hold it against a wall and stick a push pin through it.

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