by Lynn R. Miller & Kristi Gilman-Miller
Back in the early eighties, when we were on an extended road trip up to Ontario, Canada and back through New England to Ohio Amish country, we had occasion to visit a small collar making shop where Kristi took these photos. We recently had to move our archives and I found these pictures in an envelope. I do not remember whose shop it was and have lost any notes that I took. But I vividly recall the action in the first photo as it mechanically stuffed chopped straw into the shaped leather tube which would become a work collar. The second apparatus was a size specific press for shaping the stuffed collar form. And the last tool pictured is a stretching table where the anchored, nearly complete collar was gently beat with a wide round hammer to even out any lumps in the stuffing.
Hard to understand why I recall certain elements of that meeting and forget others, but a discussion ensued about the differences between these chopped straw collars and the handmade, labor-intense, long straw collars. At the time it was felt that the only place still making them in North America was on Prince Edward Island in the maritimes. I wonder how the technology has evolved and if anyone knows of long straw collar makers out there.
A Few Collar Shops – Please tell them you saw them mentioned here!
- Knepp Collar Shop, Montgomery, IN, 812-486-2862
- Southern Indiana Collar Shop, 812-486-3714
- Sugar Valley Collar Shop, Loganton, PA, 570-725-3499
- Coblentz Collar, Millersburg, OH, 330-893-3858
- Fisher’s Harness Shop, Ronks, PA, 717-687-6048