In an era when every boy and man had a jacknife in his pocket, whittling led to carving challenges that produced pieces known today as whimseys. From a single block of wood these marvels, such as balls in cages, chains and puzzles, were painstakingly coaxed out.
In the age-old tradition, basic carving exercises were handed down from father to son, so that a boy developed facility with wood, or swapped among friends whittling as they passed the time together. Later on as the social structures began to change, in the 1930s, magazines, such as Popular Mechanics, printed instructions and challenged carvers to contests.
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