Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Eden, New York's kazoo factory: Established in 1907 and still humming










If you build a better kazoo, the world will beat a path to your door, or at least eccentric roadside attractions fans will. Eden, New York is a lovely little town about an hour's drive southwest from Niagara Falls. Sure, Niagara has some awesome sites to see, but Eden is no slouch either. They've got The Original American Kazoo Company, established in 1916 and currently the only metal kazoo factory in North America. I love a factory built around a talent-optional musical instrument, and this place fits the bill perfectly. They're still making 'em the good old-fashioned way, with machines dating back to 1907. Over 20 machines are run with one 10-horsepower motor connected with overhead jack shafts and leather belts. They give tours, too. Did you know the kazoo was invented by an African American named Alabama Vest? And made to his specifications by a German clock master named Thaddeus Von Clegg in Macon, Georgia back in the 1840's? Ya do now. The kazoo arrived in western New York in 1912 and has yet to overstay its welcome, making Eden a true Eden for non-talented would-be musicians everywhere. They've had visitors from as far away as China and India. Is this place worth the trip? You're darn tootin'! Here's their website: http://www.edenkazoo.com/index.php

5 comments:

Viewliner Ltd. said...

This is true "American". Great post.

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Thanks Richard!

Denise said...

I've been there! In fact, the day we were there, VH1 was filming and they asked us to play a tune with the kazoos we bought. I don't remember what song we played, but I do remember we did an awful job, which is probably why we ended up on the cutting room floor. We almost had our 15 minutes of fame right there in Eden! By the way... that "darn tootin'" comment cracked me up!
Denise

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Thanks Denise! I think there's a fine line between "good" and "awful" when it comes to kazoo playing!

Debor said...

I was born and raised there! My mom worked there for a day in her youth- that was all the fun she could stand, apparently. LOL

Every time we're home, my grown daughters and I make a beeline for the Kazoo Factory!