A Little Bit of History

In front of the 100+ acre farm on Big Creek stood a log cabin built around 1917 by Dealton Bardeen and his sons, 7 yr. old Isaac Ralston Bardeen and 10 yr. old George Lamont Bardeen. (Isaac was named after his maternal grandfather and was called Ross. George was named after his paternal grandfather and was called Lamont.) This log cabin served as a farm stand. Many items were sold there, including gasoline, homemade chocolate milk and chicken salad sandwiches on homemade bread. Someone from the family was always on call to wait on whomever stopped by.
During one of these visits nine year old Ross heard a loud clanking noise and told the customer that the connecting rods on his Model T Ford had burned out. (This was a common problem with the Model T.) Needless to say the customer did not believe Ross who had to go get his father from the field to convince the customer that indeed this 9-year-old did know about machines. Since they had a garage on the farm at the time, Ross and his father fixed the connecting rods.
This expertise with machines and fixing things would prove to be a constant as Ross grew up in the rural area around Hornell, New York. On the farm there was always machinery that needed repairing and he frequently helped to do it. He helped in the garage, worked on the family's Model T Ford, as well as helped to repair the neighbor's tractors and plows.
When he was about 19 he bought his first car - a new 1929 Ford Roadster (without the rumble seat which would have cost another $40 and not given him the needed trunk space). Having saved up his money from working with his father on the farm, he paid $525 for car. He installed a plastic doll on the radiator cap in the front. However, he found that keeping this new car in gas and oil was not possible on the $50/month his father paid him for working on the farm.
In October 1929 he began working as a helper at the Merrils Hosiery Weavers in Hornell. There were two people per machine on which either 45 gauge (coarse weave) or 54 gauge (finer weave) stockings were made. It was up to these workers (an operator and a helper) to be sure that the 24 stockings in a row (for the 54 gauge machine) were being woven correctly. If any problem arose then all of the stockings would be ruined. He worked at this factory about 6 months before he decided to go to automotive school in the evenings.
Christmas 2002 Letter