Voyager Tent

Well.. maybe i’m just in a story telling mood tonight… but the auction for this tent, other than it’s own interest, reminds me of a story i was once told….


From 1910 through the present day, all of the BSA tents and canvas products were manufactured by Diamond Brand in Naples, North Carolina. They made the first BSA pack in 1920, and continue to make most of the BSA tents and packs. (BTW, Naples is a small town near Asheville, and Diamond Brand is the oldest tent manufacturer in the U.S., having been in business since around 1880)


Anyway, for a number of years, i had both a professional and personal relationship with Diamond Brand and it’s management, one of whom told me this story…


Diamond Brand also manufactured the poles and pegs that went along with those tents, and they had a special custom-made machine that made the pegs. The steel wire came on a big spool, and there was a pneumatic arm on the machine that would grab the end of the wire, pull it out the correct distance, wrap one end around a jig to form the hook end, and then slice off the peg and eject it, before going back and grabbing another section of steel wire.


This pneumatic arm made a unique and unusual “ka-chunk” sound each time it cycled, and it cycled about once every 1-2 seconds. This machine was in constant usage, running the full shift of every work day, spitting out tent pegs- ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk…..


I was told that this machine was the most efficient and dependable piece of equipment in the plant. It never went down and rarely need maintenance other and a few drops of oil now and again, and of course, replacing the spool of wire when it ran out. The employees in the plant were so used to the constant ‘ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk’ that whenever the machine was shut down to replace the wire spool, they all looked up with a blank look untill it was back online.


This machine sat next to a cinder block wall that was originally put in the plant as a temporary divider wall.


It seems that one day, there was a rare earth tremor in Naples which shook the plant– employees rushed outside in fear of the building collapsing. They all made it outside ok… but in fact, the roof and some of the walls fell- including the block wall next to this machine…..


However, the electricity remained on, and from outside the employees could still hear that peg machine, kicking out tent pegs from beneath the rubble– ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk!


The went back inside, and sure enough, the machine was so covered in rubble and debries that it was not even visible– just the ka-chunk, ka-chung, ka-chunk as it continued to spit out tent pegs!


True story! Scout’s honor! 🙂




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