Build Kid's Folk Toys

These are plans for some folk toys.

By Henry B. Comstock. From the plans:

You'll love the old flipperdingers, whimmydiddles, and their country cousins now being made in the Southern mountains.

Today, a group of North Carolina mountain boys are busy carving a niche with their jackknives in the highly competitive toy industry. They all work in their homes around Beech Creek, a region just a whoop and a holler west of Boone, N. C. Their products are faithful copies of folk toys that have delighted children of the Southern Appalachians for two centuries or more.

Wonderful gadgets are these, made of bits of laurel and rhododendron, seasoned hickory, red cedar, river cane, and acorn cups. The idea of reviving interest in, and a market for, these folk toys came from Richard Chase, authority on the folk traditions of the Appalachian South.

One day Chase wondered if there wasn't still a place for such old-time favorites as the gee-haw whimmydiddle, flipperdinger, fly killer, whizzer, and cornstalk fiddle. Could they turn out these toys in quantity, he asked, if he helped with patterns and found the outlets? Small initial orders, placed by gift shops throughout the Asheville-Great Smoky Mountains National Park area were followed quickly by big ones. Visiting youngsters from 50 states were going for the toys like corn pone. So were their fathers. Swinging a whizzer vigorously, one red-faced tourist puffed: "They've got the wrong name on this one. Back where I come from, we used to call it a bullroarer."

Chase knows better than to argue. A thorough researcher, he's found that none of these playthings are eculiar to the Appalachian South. The whimmydiddle, for example, has been reported from Sweden and China. And a Czechoslovakian book on early Central European toys describes many such items.

How to Build Folk Toys