The Kaleidoscope Factory – Pomeroy, Iowa
The owner of the Kaleidoscope Factory says "It’s really hard not to smile when you’re looking through a kaleidoscope." How true that is as the beautiful colors and shapes pass before your eyes bringing a whole fresh thought process to your day. The changes brought on by just the slightest turn of the kaleidoscope brings you new images time after time.
The factory is now located in a 1890′s drugstore building in downtown Pomeroy. There is a showroom along with the factory so you can see all the different creations. Not only are there kaleidoscopes for you to look at and buy at the factory but there are spurtles and dibbers too. What in the world is a spurtle? It’s a wooden stirring stick used by the Irish for years to stir the oats as they softened slowly in the pot. Now days, with instant oatmeal, you really don’t need to stir the oats but the spurtle is still a great tool for the kitchen to use stirring anything and it won’t scratch your pots and pans! Now the dibber was first recorded in Roman times and has remained mostly unchanged since. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, farmers would use long handled dibbers of metal or wood to plant crops. One man would walk with a dibber making holes, and a second man would plant seeds in each hole and fill it in. Although you don’t need to use one to plant fields now they are great for planting a garden so check them out and take one home with you.
The studio at the factory is used for other things than kaleidoscopes, spurtles and dibbers. You can learn how to fuse glass jewelry at the "College of Leonard" where he will let you use his materials and have your creations fired in his kiln. It will take at least 3 visits to complete something. In the first visit you will glue yp your glass creation. When you have done that he will fire it for you. Then you need to come back and glue on the bails and choose neckwear if necessary. The third visit will have you completing the assembly of the piece. All you need to do is buy the materials which are very reasonably priced so you can make LOTS of different pieces. This "class" is on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 pm until 9 pm. Just show up, you don’t need an appointment.
You can have a tour of the factory; either just show up and hope it works out or call for an appointment (or email). The woodturning studio and gallery are a fascinating tour for anyone from preschoolers to senior citizens. there is no charge for a tour. It is recommended that you allow at least 20 minutes to tour the factory and an hour to and hour and a half for the experience of assembling a PVC pipe kaleidoscope which costs just $10 each.
Location: The Kaleidoscope Factory, 104 South Main St., Pomeroy, Iowa 50575
Directions: One block west of the water tower. Pomeroy is located in NW Iowa 1/2 hour west of Ft. Dodge on Highway 4 & 7.
Hours: 2nd Saturday of the month he’s there from 10 – 5. But…if you want to see it another time then give him a call and set an appointment, he’d be delighted to show you around.
Pager number: 515-574-1615. He doesn’t use a cell phone because they don’t work well in that area (so keep that in mind when you plan to use one in town…probably going to miss that call). When the robot asks for your number, enter it (including your area code) from your phone keypad. If he doesn’t get back to you in a few minutes, try calling the pager again. He usually is within a few miles of where his cell phone will work or he’ll use a land line to call you back. He checks his email frequently unless he’s really busy so that may be the way to contact him. It will be worth the wait…such fun!