Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grandpa Nils Wins at National Exhibition of Folk Art

My figure carving entry entitled "There is a Better Way" won a First Place in the wood working division  at the National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition.  The event was held this past month at the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, IA.  The  figure was carved from a block of  4 X 6 basswood, and it earned the three points needed for me to become a winner of a Gold Medal.

Visit  to see a complete list of winners.

Nils Langum was the Grandfather of my Grandmother, Nettie (Rogen) Bortnem.  At age 25 he immigrated to America with his brother Andreas and eventually settled with his wife Karina on 80 acres of land about twenty miles north of Decorah, IA.

According to Our Nordic Heritage, a family history written by Mervin Langum, grandson of Nils, "Nils Langum invented and had patented the first grain harvester.  He was offered $18,000 for the patent, but declined, hoping for a better offer.  In the meantime the McCormick harvester came out with a similar model with modifications that ended his chance of a lifetime."

The original patent model for the Langum Reaper was handed down to Mervin's brother, Nathan, and was finally donated to the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah.  There it remains, at last sighting, in a glass case on the third floor of the Old Mill.