The Gavel and Sounding Block which presided over the 1976 Convention of the IAM
 
The engraved Bronze Plaque shown in the photo may be read below
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
Of
MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS

1976 CONVENTION
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA

This gavel and sounding block which assisted president Floyd E. Smith in presiding over the 1976 convention during our bicentennial year was made from wood 10 years older than our nation.

This wood which traversed our country from west to east came from a myrtle tree which started life in 1766 near the town, of Myrtle Point, Oregon one hundred and fifty-six years later in 1922, the tree was felled by James P. Stinson, a logger and the father-in-law of long time union member W. J. (Bill) Boydstun, Book No. AJ-55966.

Mr. Stinson made some furniture and other items from the tree. One of the items was a coffee table which Mr. Boydstun currently has in his home.

The last unused piece of the tree lay in a shed in Oregon for fifty years.

In 1972 Mr. Boydstun bought the piece to Florida and requested a former union member, E. Ray Smyth Book No-AD-53597 to make a gavel for the convention. Having enough wood available Mr. Smyth not only made the gavel but, also conceived and handcrafted the sounding block.

The gavel and sounding block are hereby presented to the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers by Mr. Boydstun and Mr. Smyth on behalf of the of Florida State Council of Machinist, District Lodge 166 and local lodge 690, Cape Canaveral, Florida

Since 1976, at Ray's request, the gavel has presided over council meetings of  The City of Titusville, Florida and several meetings of the Brevard County State Legislative Delegation.

Actually, the sounding block was never finished. Ray had plans to install small symbols such as alligators and a small missile reflective of the State of Florida and then fill the cutout with clear resin. Ray also planned to put soil in the bottom of the cutout from each of the 67 counties in the State of Florida. In that regard, he had his state representative contact a state representative from each of the other 66 counties in Florida and they sent Ray a tablespoon of soil from each county. 30+ years later, Ray still has the soil in the containers as he received it.

 
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