Turning Back Time: Celebrating the World of Carolina Wood Turning Company

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Log yard at Carolina Wood Turning - Extension Service photoTo celebrate one of Swain County’s most enduring employers, the Swain County Cooperative Extension is partnering with former employees and family members to host Turning Back Time: Celebrating the World of Carolina Wood Turning Company.

The company had its beginning in 1903 under the name of Bryson City Pump Works. In 1925, the company name was changed to Carolina Wood Turning Company. Over forty years later, at the end of 1966, it merged with Magnavox. It was acquired by Singer in 1973. The year 1986 marked the plant closure. In addition to these official corporate names, it was also called Cherokee Furniture, Consolidated Furniture, and – to many a local family – simply as “The Plant.”

The Plant provided a steady source of employment for many families in Swain and surrounding counties for over three-quarters of a century. Its use of the fine area timber also provided income to local loggers and truckers. A full range of top quality home furniture as well as a variety of wood products including ricer rollers and porch columns were manufactured and sold throughout the United States. During World War II, the plant went into full-time war support, manufacturing flare bodies and munitions containers.

Carolina Wood Turning, about 1930A short program on the company history, plant processes, and family perspectives will be provided, but in keeping with the family reunion theme of the gathering, all those attending will be encouraged to share their own memories, and we fully expect there to be some good-natured give and take. Music will be provided by talented folks with plant connections.

The event is open to the public, but we especially encourage former employees and their family to join in the remembrance of the men and women who made the company the area’s mainstay employer for most of the 20th century.

We’ll gather to turn back time on Saturday, May 9th from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the SCC -Swain Center, 60 Almond School Rd. There will be a potluck dinner starting at noon, so please bring a covered dish as well as photographs and memories to share.

PICT0095While you can just show up, it would be extremely helpful in our planning if you will let us know that you intend to come. Please call (828) 488-3848 to reserve your seat as well as to inquire about directions or more information.

Source: Don Casada


Written By

Dee Decker, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDee DeckerExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Dee Email Dee N.C. Cooperative Extension, Swain County Center
Updated on Jun 30, 2021
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