The New and The Strange
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The New and The Strange

While the Zinns were living near Tuxford, a neighbor brought his car, a McLaughlan, to the farm and gave a number of the Zinns a ride around the yard. Ed Zinn was the next to get a car, and he also came to the farm and gave some of them a ride around the yard. Jack and Lou used their buggy until about 1925, when they bought a second hand, 1921 Model T Ford.


house and car

We thought we didn't have a photo of their car. But after discovering one in the background of a 1940 photo, modern technology helped to enlarge it and make it real again.


The Zinns saw their first airplane in about 1920. The plane landed right in their field. When Jack went over to talk to the pilot, the pilot sold him a life insurance policy.

While they were living east of Youngstown, Jack, Sheldon, and Ross went to a neighbors and listened to their first radio. It was a Calgary radio station. Later, when they were living on the Bowie farm, in 1924, Jack bought a radio. The next day, the Jack Dempsey and Tunny fight was broadcast. The entire family and two neighbors listened to the fight. Gladys made a 4 mile (6.4 km) trip with a horse and buggy from Henry Zinn’s place in order to listen to the fight.


Connected By Modern Technology

By the time the Zinns moved to the Bowie farm, most homes had a telephone. The Zinn’s phone was one of many that were on the same line, on what was called a party line.

When a phone call was made, all of the phones would ring on that line. Each home that was on the party line had a different ring, so everybody knew who was being called. It was frowned upon if you listened in on somebody else’s phone call. If you did this, you were "rubbering" in on their privacy. Sometimes, maybe 7 people would get on the same party line, and they would hold what today would be called a telephone conference.

During the 1930’s, most of the lines were shut down because nobody could afford them. The Zinns helped Carman Hughs hook up their own telephone system. A line was hooked up to an old radio speaker inside their house, and ran outside where it was hooked onto a barbed wire fence. The fence ran west for half a mile (0.8 km), where it was connected to an old telephone line. This line ran south for 4 miles (6.4 km) to Carman Hugh’s home, and then another 2 miles (3.2 km) to McBride’s home.

The Zinns could hear the radio and other noises in Carman Hugh’s home in their speaker. The Zinns placed a towel in the speaker so that the noise in their house wouldn’t go through the line. If you wanted to talk to someone, you just had to go to the speaker, remove the towel, and holler into it.

Electricity wasn’t installed at the farm until the 1950’s.


to next section: The Dry Years.