Lyndon Moore of Bloomfield

Lyndon Moore Altenburg 07-30-2014Last year about this time, I met Lyndon Moore at his exhibit of tools at the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum. Not only did he have a fabulous collection of vintage tools, he could tell you in minute detail every factoid related to them. The guy is also a natural storyteller.

Dropped in on him

Lyndon Moore 08-24-2015He made the mistake of saying, “If you’re ever down in Bloomfield, stop by.” I was IN Bloomfield on Monday and decided to take him up on his offer. With careful turn-by-turn directions over the cell phone by his wife, Margaret, I managed to find his shop on the outskirts of town.

As soon as he sat down, a dog the size of a small pony hopped up on top of him. Lyndon said the 7-year-old got accustomed to being a lapdog when he was a puppy and never gave up the habit when his paws got almost as big as my hands.

Travel all over the country

Margaret and Lyndon Moore 08-24-2015The couple are on the road all the time (along with their dogs) looking for more tools to add to their collection.They’re headed off to Indiana next.

They are leaning on their drivable 1915 Model T. It’s not a restoration, Lyndon said. Most of the parts are original.

Driving was an art

Lyndon Moore 08-24-2015Looking down at the floorboard, I noted three pedals: “Gas, brake and clutch?” I hazarded?

Not even close. The throttle was a lever on the steering column that looked like a turn signal. The pedals, in conjunction with the emergency brake handle and used in a mystifying combination would allow you to start, stop, go forward in two speeds, and back up. They could do 30 to 40 mph if the roads permitted, but few were that good.

Lefthanders had fewer broken arms

Lefthanders like Lyndon had an advantage. They were less likely to wind up with a broken arm if the engine kicked back when it was being hand-cranked.

The 1915 model had some major advances, like electric lights and an electric horn. Just to be safe, though, they kept the kerosene lights for backup.

I could have spent all afternoon with the Moores, but I had other folks to annoy.

Lyndon Moore Tool Exhibit

Lyndon Moore Altenburg 07-30-2014Lyndon Moore and his wife, Margaret, travel all over the country in a truck with six dogs collecting vintage tools and hauling them back home to Bloomfield. The have an exhibit at the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum August 1 through September 25.

Official press release

Lyndon Moore Tool Exhibit 08-06-2014Here’s the official press release: The Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum, 75 Church Street, in Altenburg, MO is proud to announce an exhibit opening.  The L&M Tool Collection of Lyndon and Margaret Moore, of Bloomfield, MO, is one of the premiere American tool collections in the country.  This exhibit is a special selection of the L&M Collection featuring tools manufactured in Missouri, rare tools, tools with broad public appeal, and tools used in the early settlement of Missouri.  Also included in the exhibit are rare regional hardware photographs and historic hardware store exhibit cases.  The exhibit will be open every day from Friday, August 1 through September 25 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Admission is free.

Pictures and press release can’t do it justice

Lyndon Moore Tool Exhibit 08-06-2014Snapshots and a press release don’t do the exhibit justice. Friend Terry Hopkins and I stopped by there Wednesday. I told him to open this saw display case and take a sniff inside.

He reeled back and, with a strange expression on his face, said, “That’s Grandpa Hopkins’ workshop.”

He was right. Some combination of oil and linseed oil or something brought back memories of old-time hardware stores and workshops. I’d love to have a bottle of that fragrance. It’s as much a part of my olfactory memories as the smell of diesel fumes and freshly pushed dirt on one of Dad’s construction sites.

Lyndon is the real treasure

Lyndon Moore Altenburg 07-30-2014Friend Shari and I happened to be there when Lyndon was in the museum. Director Carla Jordan, staffer Gerard Fiehler, Lyndon, Shari and a couple of other folks sat around eating an excellent carryout lunch from Nickie’s Cafe and Sweets. Carla has a way of making strangers instantly feel comfortable with each other.

Lyndon regaled us with a funny tale of scandal in downtown Bloomfield, then switched gears and told us a poignant story of a “pedal car” that got away from him when he was five years old. Forty-some years later he saw that same car, in mint condition, hanging from the rafters in a fellow collector’s “piddle shop,” and finally acquired it. He said it was a good thing his father couldn’t get it for him when he was 5, because he’d have torn it up playing with it.

Carla said Lyndon will be spending a lot of time in the museum. You might be able call ahead to see if he’s there. The number is 573-824-6070.

Be prepared to hear story after story about the history of every item in the exhibit, how he acquired it and how it works.

This is not your usual exhibit, trust me.

Gallery of the tool exhibit

The glass cases that house some of the exhibits are as interesting as their contents. You can appreciate the tools for their utility, their artistry or their history. Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.