"Work I Knew I Must" - with Tammy Horn Potter (S4, E2)


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Returning to join us in this episode is Tammy Horn Potter. (She originally visited us back in Season 2!) Not only is Tammy the State Apiary Inspector for Kentucky, but she is also an accomplished author. She has just finished her fourth book entitled, “Work I Knew I Must. Reminiscence of Forty-One Years of Factory Life.”

Jane Cole worked for the A. I. Root Company for 41 years, starting when A.I. Root was making jewelry in his factory on the Town Square, in Medina, Ohio. She worked through the construction of the new factory built on the Country Fair Grounds on the edge of town to manufacture beekeeping equipment, and the many, many factory expansions they made after that. During those 41 years she did almost every job that could be done in a factory that sawed wood, made smokers, extractors, bottled honey, printed a magazine and books, and took orders and filled orders and delivered orders to customers, the railroad and the post office.

She wrote about building the new factory, child labor, factory dangers (and there were many), factory politics, noon prayers, the hundreds of people she worked with over the years, the company sponsored picnics, the men, women and children she was in charge of, and the people she worked with, and for.

When A. I. Root retired, he, too, wrote an autobiography, about running the factory that Jane Cole worked in.

What Tammy has done is take Jane Cole’s work and stand it side by side with A. I. Root’s work to give you a very unique look at factory life, from the perspective of an employee, and her employer. Many of the events Jane found worthy of writing about were also mentioned by Root in his work. Because neither was aware of the other’s work, the telling of these events is about as straight forward from each as you can imagine.

The story Tammy as sewn together tells much about early beekeeping history and equipment, the evolution of factory equipment and science, about working as a single woman in what is mostly a man’s world, and about life in a small town in northeast Ohio at the turn of the century.

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:


Calling all craft food and drink makers! Entry period for the 12th annual Good Food Awards is open now thru June 30th, and we’re accepting entries from 18 different categories of food and drink, including honey. Entries are $78 a piece to help cover logistics, and entrants can add on the option to receive judge feedback from the Blind Tasting in August for $15. Head over to goodfoodfdn.org for all the details and use code BEEKEEPING at checkout for $10 off. We look forward to seeing your entries soon!


We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping Today Podcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website: https://www.strongmicrobials.com

This episode is brought to you by Global Patties! Global Patties is a family business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will help ensure that they produce strong and health colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your specific needs. Visit them today at http://globalpatties.com and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode!

We want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a quarterly magazine destined for your coffee table. Each page of the magazine is dedicated to the stories and photos of all pollinators and written by leading researchers, photographers and our very own, Kim Flottum.


We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments: questions@beekeepingtodaypodcast.com

Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at www.beeculture.com

Thank you for listening!

Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"; Musicalman, "Epilogue". Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC