Copeland builds toys to commemorate Lincoln
by Alan Reed
Feb 05, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Curran Copeland finishes one of the steamboats, complete with candle-powered engine he is making for the Kentucky Arts Council and the Bicentennial of Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s birth.
Curran Copeland finishes one of the steamboats, complete with candle-powered engine he is making for the Kentucky Arts Council and the Bicentennial of Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s birth.
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Never content to let Illinois be “the Land of Lincoln” Kentuckians look ahead to 2009 when they will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth in the borders of the Bluegrass State. Local resident and toy builder Curran Copeland joins the festivities by selling wooden replicas of the ironclad ships used by both sides during the Civil War.

Copeland owns and operates Sweet Sawdust, a workshop that creates toys in the styles common to 1850’s America. “I say in the style of the 1850’s because they didn’t have tank trucks and cars and airplanes back then,” he said with a wry grin.

Copeland builds his toys from wood in his garage workshop. He said that some of his favorites include wooden puzzles, bug boxes, toy fishing poles and others. Copeland took some of his designs, including the “Dancing Man” and “Jacob’s Ladder” directly from historical designs.

“Since the state is celebrating the 200-year anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the Kentucky Arts Council announced a grant project,” said Copeland. “I submitted a grant application for $1,000 and was accepted.”

For his project, Copeland created three designs of wooden replicas of naval ironclads. Two pull-toy designs feature the famous “USS Monitor,” a Union ship featuring the first turreted guns on a combat ship, and a City-class ironclad, “USS Louisville.” Union naval forces used the “Louisville” and other boats of the City-class to patrol waterways and rivers during the war.

Perhaps Copeland’s masterpiece for the project is a larger version of the City-class ship powered with a steam engine. Copeland said that the engine he selected is known as a “putt-putt” or “pop-pop” engine. Seeking authenticity, Copeland’s water-going toy uses an 1880 Dutch modification of a civil war design.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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