Looking Back: Franklin County’s history May 21st

Franklin County’s history

Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on May 21st.

25 Years Ago

May 21, 1996 – Monday

“Collectors go for the gold”
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“Traders get hooked into Olympic pin craze”

Franklin County's history May 21st
It’s easy to get hooked on Olympic pins. The pins are frequently worn on hats and clothing.

Anna Dowis was in the right place at the right time.  

In was 1980, and she was in Lake Placid, N.Y., doing mission work for the Southern Baptist Convention.  In her spare time, she worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee as a volunteer.

It’s easy to see how she got hooked.

Those lapel pins worn and traded by athletes, Olympic officials, sponsors and media are just so darned eye-catching.  And once you have one, you just want another.

“Lake Placid is so small,” the Duncan, N.C., resident says, that collectible pins were easy to come by.  She got some from sponsors.

She got a few more from ABC reporters covering the Olympics. Pretty soon she had a collection.

She has added pins to her collection from every Olympiad since, including 200 at last count representing the 1996 Atlanta Games.

But the value of a pin has nothing to do with how attractive it is, or how much it costs.  In fact, the best ones are free.  And few cost more than $5 or $6.  

What makes pins collectible is their rarity and the challenge involved in getting one.  The hunt is the real thrill of the hobby to me,” says Don Bigsby, a Schenectady, N.Y., collector and a member of Olympic, an international pin collectors club.

Generic pins available at retail outlets ones that feature Olympic mascot Izzy peeking out from behind a peach or the Atlanta torch insignia, for example are great conversation pieces and their sales help finance Olympics programs.  But they aren’t collectible.

Collectible pins are the ones made by sponsoring companies to give to employees or special customers, pins given to athletes by their sponsoring Olympic committees, pins made by or for media covering the Olympics and so on.  

In other words, you have to beg, trade or wheedle to get one.  But once you have one or two, you can get others by trading.  

Coca-Cola traditionally has provided places for traders to meet at Olympic Games.  Its trading center in a downtown Barcelona square during the 1992 Games always was filled with people.  Some were checking out the official Coke tent, but many clustered around makeshift card tables of collectors and traders from around the world.  Their colorful wares Russian military insignia, Spanish swim club pins, souvenirs from Games decades ago drew multilingual tourists and fellow collectors.

In 1994, the soft-drink giant launched the 1996 Olympic Games Pin Society, “to make pin trading available to people on a more regular basis, rather than just during the three weeks of the Olympics,” says Coca-Cola spokesperson Susan McDermott in Atlanta.  

Collectors complain that although the Pin Society has brought thousands of new collectors into the hobby, it has made previously difficult-to-get pins easily available and therefore, less desirable.  

Many 1996 sponsor and country pins, once obtainable only through trading, now are being sold through the Pin Society catalogue.

But McDermott says that such pins are made only in limited quantities “to keep the collectible value intact.”

Some sponsor pins still are available only by hook or crook. And those, says Bigsby, are pins “a collector would really want to get.”

For example, BellSouth and NationsBank, both Olympic sponsors, have produced collections of pins available only to employees.

BMW Olympic pins were distributed to company employees, but they’re also available for purchase at the company’s dealerships.

Other pins with a more limited distribution may be in the works, according to BMW of North America spokesman Rich Brooks.  “We’re certainly aware of the interest of collectors.”

To start a collection, Bigsby says, watch TV, see who the sponsors are, do some investigating but they’re also available for purchase at the company’s dealerships and use your persuasive skills.

If that doesn’t work, he adds, try begging.

Whatever the result, do it for fun, he says.  “Don’t collect them to make money. People shouldn’t be investing their money like they’re playing the stock market.”

50 Years Ago

May 21, 1971 – Friday

“Stolen Safe Recovered from Lake”

Chambersburg police enlisted the aid of scuba divers and a rescue truck from the Friendship Fire Co. Thursday to recover a stolen safe from the water supply dam above Caledonia State Park.

The safe was stolen Wednesday night from the Byers Implement Company on Edgar Avenue.   It contained papers and files, but no money.  Police had made no previous report of the burglary in which the safe was stolen.

According to Corporal Jack T. Brown, Chambersburg police were notified early Thursday afternoon that water employees at the Long Pine Run Dam had found papers from Byers Implement Co. floating on the water.  The papers were found near the crest of the dam.

Police were dispatched to the scene and Byers Implement Co. was notified. Equipment was then called to pull the safe out of the lake. Brown said the door was pried off.

The safe is now in police custody while their investigation continues

100 Years Ago

May 21, 1921- Saturday

“State Matches would go around the world 21 times”

If all of the matches manufactured in Pennsylvania In 1920 were to be made into a belt twenty-one rows wide, the belt would just exactly fit around the waist of Old Mother Earth according to figures made public today by the Department of Internal Affairs and gathered by the department Bureau of Statistics and Information. 

The record shows that during the year, a total of 15,041,551,200 matches were made In the state, enough to encircle the globe twenty-one time or to give one-hundred and fifty to every man, woman and child In the United States.  

The production last year was valued at $1,439,413 while in 1919 the value was considerably less than one-half or that amount or $531,981.  In 1918 the match production in the state was worth $1,303,834. In 1918 the match production in Pennsylvania totaled 895,546 gross boxes of one hundred matches each while in 1919 the quantity output was but 373,236 gross boxes of one hundred each. The production In 1920 surpassed the high water mark of 1918 and the report showed  the manufacture of 1,044,552 gross boxes of one hundred matches apiece. The capital invested in the industry last year was just $1,000,000 and the reports show that the normal output was made by 275 employees.

No less Interesting is the handkerchief Industry In Pennsylvania. Report from the various manufacturer In Pennsylvania an compiled by the Department of Internal Affairs show that last year there was a total of 58,316.588 handkerchiefs made within the borders of the states, enough, if placed side by aide to reach around the state eleven times.   While the production would be considered as enormous, the production in 1919 surpassed It when 64,152,288 handkerchiefs were made.

The value of the handkerchief Industry In Pennsylvania n 1920 was $3,796,047 while In 1919 it was $4,400,445.


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