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Photo ©Frantisek Kocian

 

THE TINKERS OF KYSUCE

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Was a name for a really good exposition of black and white photographs of Frantisek Kocian, at the Detva's folk festival.

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Friday, around noon I was having a drink with my friend Pavol Kubis, director of the press center and he introduced me to an older gentleman whom I learned that he is a photographer and at his own cost he made the exposition about the Tinkers of Kysuce. He used to work at the press agency in Prague and about 50 years ago on the way to session to Budejovice they passed by car, what taught was a dead man at the side of the road. So they stopped and this pile stood up and to their disbelief it was a wandering tinker from Kysuce. Kysuce is one of the poorest regions of Slovakia and the Tinkers from Kysuce are known and respected throughout the world. They were the first ones that made the humane mouse trap. They used to manufacture the bird cages for Russian Czars, toys for children, tools for medical profession. A good tinker when he left and didn't know how to read or write, when he returned after years, he was fluent in at least five languages. In those days, there was a lot of misery, lots of the people went abroad for work to make money and came back, many years later. First group of Slovak emigrants to United States was a Slovak Tinkers family, Komadovci, from Velke Rovne. In 1840 in the town of Philadelphia at 412-414 Front Street they opened the first Slovak store with wire and wire products.

These days the tinker's craft is almost forgotten as it isn't profitable any more. However it does live in folk craft. One of the folk tinker artist is Mr. Musil. He makes Easter Eggs decorated in tinker's style with wire. He made 250 eggs so far and has his process patented. Few years ago a Thinkers museum was opened at the Budatinsky castle close to Zilina.

 

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Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 1, No. 4, Winter 1993
Copyright Vladimir Linder 1993 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.