Opening and Invocation led by Jean Bendix
Wellness Report – From Jim Praino:  Sally recovering from knee replacement, their son-in-law has kidney stones.  Helmuth having tests tomorrow - having a procedure to help with pain management.
Guests: Steve Heald, Malvina Plichta - exchange student
  1. Night to Shine update: an awesome night - so great to support the event - some of our members volunteered.
  2. Helmuth sent a check for $88 as a donation to celebrate his 88th birthday
  3. Malwina - went skiing with exchange students - had a great time
  4. Doug Doebler - Haiti refugee couple will arrive next week. He and Judy will greet them at JFK airport. Needs 2 phones to get them set up — must be an iPhone 8 or newer.
  5. Next week need committee updates
  6. Holly - gave out 217 valentines to the various facilities such as The Terraces, Wayne County Nursing Home, DeMay etc
Birthdays:  JJ Cotter, Jim DeVolder, Russ Harris, Helmuth Reinhardt, Linda Werts
Queen of Hearts. Chuck Waterman did not pick the Queen - the pot continues to grow.
Program:  April 11th is the Bi-Centenial Celebration for Wayne County. Our guest speaker is Doug Topping of Topping Ladder. Topping Ladder is from Wayne County and started in 1860.  
Topping Ladder was located at 105 Main Street in Marion, NY. Established by Hiram Topping making apple crates and various “wooden” things like croquet sets, etc. They made portable fruit evaporators and dryers for apples. Doug brought a sales reps model of the evaporator. He also brought an apple corer and a wooden washing machine (the advertisement for it states takes 1 hour rather than 1 day). They also made locking wooden gates - all these things are from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
They started making ladders in 1912 - they were sold all over Wayne County for the fruit farmers, but also in the New England and down into the Hudson Valley.
In 1948 they built a new facility to handle the business. The ladders were made with bass wood because it is classified as a “hard wood” but it isn’t as hard as other wood. It also has few knots - so there is little waste. The rungs were made of ash because it is very hard and sturdy.
In 1950 - distributing to Michigan - sales were increasing and business was good. They made extension, tall and also tri-pod ladders. Ladder sales are very low during the winter and then picked up in the summer. They continued to manufacture all winter to build up inventory for the summer months. Everyone loved Topping Ladders.
In 1958 they were the largest producer of basswood ladders. Extension ladders were equipped with rope and pulley and malleable iron gravity locks. All were dipped in silver paint.
In 1965 Clifford Topping wanted to retire and sold their interest in the company and sold it to Connor Ladders in Rochester. They were made until 1997. Connor Ladders closed in 2001. Wooden ladders were being replaced with lighter materials in the early 2000’s.
A very interesting slice of Wayne County history. Thank you.