Harry Lind – Legendary Prop Maker

Harry Lind was born in Jamestown, NY (USA) in 1879. He started his juggling career in 1900 and retired in 1919. A future article will examine his performing career. Edward Van Wyck, the first maker of juggling clubs, sold Harry some of his woodworking equipment upon Lind’s retirement and Lind went into production making what would be the world’s finest juggling clubs for the next 40 years. Like Van Wyck, Lind made his wooden clubs with a three part construction. However, he improved on Van Wyck’s design by cutting the body lengthwise and then wedging the handle in between the two halves when they were joined. They were wrapped in gluey linen like Van Wyck’s and the handles were wrapped in cord to strengthen the attachment point. Lind had more woodworking experience than Van Wyck, so his clubs were stronger, lighter, and more uniform. Lind’s clubs weighed as little as 11 ounces.

Here is a drawing by Art Jennings showing the process of manufacturing Lind’s clubs.

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Below, you can see more details of how Lind constructed his famous clubs, taken from a magazine article from 1948.

Lind not only made his “normal” clubs, but also made giant basket clubs, 8 sided clubs, and four sided trapezoidal clubs. These other clubs were often made in Lind’s kitchen during the winter, as his workshop wasn’t heated and was too cold to work in during Jamestown’s harsh winters.

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Lind’s clubs were so in demand that he didn’t advertise like other prop makers before and after him. Instead, the only way you could become a customer of Lind was to be recommended by an existing customer. However, I have recently discovered the following price list for Lind’s props.

As you can see, Lind didn’t just make clubs. He also made rings, devil sticks, cups and saucers, head pedestals, wooden plates, and other props. Below are a variety of the props he made.

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Tommy Curtin’s head pedestal made by Harry Lind

Harry was devoted to the art of juggling and to jugglers for his entire life. During the course of his prop making career, Lind lost three fingers using a rotary burr to hollow out the clubs.

For more than four decades, Harry Lind was the epicenter of the juggling community in the United States. He was a founding member of the IJA and hosted the first two IJA Conventions in his home of Jamestown, NY. Almost all American jugglers used his props, so he was truly was the connection point for the community.

Harry with Betty Gorham, the first person to join the IJA

Harry Lind stopped making props around 1960 and passed away in 1967. His legacy lives on today. His props are highly sought after by collectors and his club swinging skills, which you can see by clicking here, are still highly admired. He even invented triple singles with four clubs – a trick done by jugglers around the world. He should continue to be remembered as both a performer and a prop maker.

Harry Lind at age 85

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-four books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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