While I worked Friday, a comfortable day, rain through the morning, keeping the client's calls and walk-ins to a minimum, allowing me the luxury of a few hours work with no interruptions, I contemplated my three bird morning, and how it was possible to get such a number done, in such short time. I also realized, that, while mounting, one of the most enjoyable systems during the mounting process wasn't the final positioning of the mount, but, the "wire-wheeling" process! I, as most of us, used to spend and hour and a half, to two hours, just with scalpel and scissors, cleaning duck and pheasant fat by hand, and, with the use of the spinning "wire wheel", changed our times to less than ten minutes per skin, and, of course, this allowed to move from two birds in a ten hour period, to four in and eight hour period! So, as I worked, and contemplated, I also realized, that of all the taxidermy trivia I know, or, have learned and collected, I didn't know who, or when, the "wire-wheel", or, wire brush method of taxidermy was developed! I was introduced to the wire brush and rotated motor by Tony Gilyard, in Hawthorne, Florida, about 1981. But, who was the first to use this clever and unique device? I went to one of the early Taxidermy Reviews, in Colorado, in the early seventies, and, the wheel was not around then, or, even known. During the seventies, not a single taxidermist I knew and visited used one, or even knew what one was, so, who invented this device, that, today, is the mainstay tool of every competent bird taxidermist, Worldwide? I know that the "wire wheel" has surely changed my taxidermy, as my skinning and cleaning work load has changed from hours to minutes due to this wonderful tool, and I know that upon learning the usefullness of this device, in the early eighties, it was always enjoyable to introduce "non-users", or, "scissor-hands" to the novelty of the "wheel", but now, everyone has one, of many different designs, and styles, and, everyone from bird to mammal taxidermists uses one, but, WHO invented the wheel? Whoever this clever he or she is, my hat is off to them!
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Probably some poor schmuck who was tinkering around with a wire brush cleaning the tail quills who walked by his wire wheel buffer, and said, "HEY, let me try that!" Everyone thought he was crazy but a few tried and then some supplier heard about it just like the "Fat Vac" or the "Dan-D-Noser" and a few of those other things that flunk out.
Boy do I remember those days as well. I still have an excellent collection of curved blade scissors of all sizes. I bought my first bird wheel in about 1984 I think and it'd been on the market 4 or 5 years at that time.
Sweden - I have the info at work (I think) that might pinpoint it to at least a year.
Dave, I noticed that you didn't post as Wingnut - is it perhaps because a person started using that name also on this forum? Secondly, I know you collect some old taxidermy literature - is it of substantial size that it might include texts I don't have in my Taxidermologists Library? If you think it substantial please send me an email as I'm making a push to complete the research before I begin writing the history.
I heard of it was through Karen Finley in So. Carolina, I think ? She or her and her husband manfactured a very nice one and I think they were the first to market one. I think that was in the late 70s or early 80s, boy does time fly by.
In 1977,there was a bird degreaser manufactured by the Johnson Machine Co.aka,the Johnson Bird Degreaser which sold for $150.00 and was sent from Tallapoosa,Ga. The Soft Touch Bird Degreaser,which I think is the topic of these posts,was made in(and still is I believe) SC back the early 1980's and seen its debut in the several trade journals of the day in 1983. Also on the scene then was a few sheets of typed information using an electric knife and light bulb that sold for $25.00 per copy. There seems to have been an era back then of new and improved tools and methods in 'getting the job done'easier. Anyone remember the Odasa Fleshing Wand? Or who the taxidermist was that invented the Bonded(bondo)Ear Method?