Brower shares hobby with Optimists

TROY — Frank Brower, former owner of Brower Stationers in Troy, shared his hobby on Nov. 16 with the Troy Noon Optimist Club. Frank adopted this hobby of lapidary in the 1970s when his children abandoned their rock tumbler, impatient with the time it took to produce smooth surfaces. As club speaker, he shared his knowledge of stone identification, where various kinds of rock can be found, and the methods he uses to cut, grind, and polish minerals into beautiful jewelry and miscellaneous works of art.

Brower’s most active interest lies with native flint, Ohio’s official gemstone. Throughout Ohio’s early history, humans relied on tools created from stone material. Flint was valued because it is a strong, durable stone that can be easily reshaped. Ohio is fortunate to have sources of some of the most highly prized flint in the world. The most famous deposit of Ohio flint is found in an area known as Flint Ridge in Licking and Muskingum counties. When asked about flint used in early rifles, Brower responded, “Every ‘older day’ Boy Scout knew that flint and steel makes a spark.”

Frank has personally made 320 spheres from larger pieces of rock. He admitted that in price he couldn’t compete with the Chinese production since one 4-inch sphere consumed 143 hours of grinding using water and granular sanding material. His reward is not financial, but the gratification of owning what he has created.

Brower is a member of the Brukner Nature Center Gem and Mineral Club. In the past he has taught lapidary to individuals in his home garage. He has thoughts about how he might impart his knowledge to others in the future, including youth who seem to have a natural interest in rocks.

The Troy Noon Optimist Club has been supporting the youth of Troy for 59 years. The club motto is “Bringing Out the Best in Kids. A few of the service projects that the club is involved in include sponsoring the Hometown Halloween Parade and Costume Contest, the Hometown Holiday Celebration, our own “Avenue of Flags” and the Troy Noon Optimists Strawberry Festival Booth. Our “Avenue of Flags” program provides the majority of our funds to support our five scholarships awarded yearly to Troy graduates and allows us to continue our Troy Noon Optimists Oratorical Contest for Jr. and Sr. High students. It also gives us the ability to provide support for kids programs like The Lincoln Center, Girl Scouts, Destination Imagination, Sheriff’s Summer Youth Camp, Brukner Nature Center, Kids Read Now, and many others. I am honored to be a part of this enthusiastic group that is contributing to all the great things that make Troy one of America’s Best Communities!”