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Talley W. Nichols

This is going to have to be a story about my Uncle Talley as it is remembered by a kid growing up—and then by that same adult who is grown.

My earliest memories of my Uncle Talley did not come from the man's image of himself. They came from the man himself. I never saw my uncle doing any kind of displaying. He was just being my uncle. I might have been in the way, but I never knew it. Instead, during those moments when I was with him, it always seemed to me that he thought that I was the only one that mattered.

And how is a little kid supposed to know that his uncle is paying attention to him? When an adult stops what he is doing and comes over to you and starts explaining the things that are going on, then you know. I just remember that he would come over to me when I was watching and explain the processes. And he never "dumbed it down" for me and used "baby terms." Instead he explained how these things worked in such a way that I was forced to ask him questions. I think he planned it like that. For if I asked a question, then it proved that I was listening. Then he would explain what I had missed. He would go into very technical terms for a little kid, but then that itself would open up new words and new processes. And more questions. He seemed to like it. And I adored him.

Now you adults need to understand that a little kid is like a sponge. He can soak up quite a bit. However, a dry sponge won't soak up very much and the water will only run off. So Uncle Talley would show me how something worked. (a little soaking) Then later, when we came back around to that area, he would ask me questions about what I had learned in that area. When I faltered, then he would tell me again. Now I was "a little wet" with knowledge and he would fill me up.

Every time my dad would bring me to the plant when I was growing up, I wanted to go see my Uncle Talley. I knew that I would see something new. One day he would show me the entire electro-chemical plating facilities and explain every step of the way how it worked. I learned that nickel wouldn't stick to zinc alloy before I learned that there were electrons. Copper first! The next time I would get to see the vacuum plating facility. Then I would visit the ladies who were placing the sprue into the presses and separating the parts. I was particularly impressed when they installed wrist cuffs that were attached to cables that pulled your hands out of the way—just in case you weren't smart enough to move out of the way of a 50-ton press!!!

But eventually I grew up and during that time my Uncle Talley sold Nichols Industries to Kusan. I was heart broken, for I always thought that someday I would be an "Uncle Talley." But Uncle Talley went down Bolton Street and founded "Tally-Ho Plastics." It kind of has a good "ring" to it, doesn't it? It was a "tool and die" and "plastic injection molding" company. There they made all kinds of interesting parts. And again, Uncle Talley would show me how things worked. He showed me a vertical mill that barely touched a carving that they had made. The stylus would go over every single square millimeter and on the rest of the machine, 2 milling heads would cut into the steel to make copies. Tooling. He said that they could start these about quitting time and by the next morning it would be finished. However, then they would carefully polish things so that the plastic would release.

Later came years when my Uncle Talley was retired, and I could no longer visit him at a factory—and even trips to his lake house were gone and there wasn't much for him to do. His eyesight was also fading, but he asked me one day, "Do you think I ought to buy a computer?" I said something like, "Well, Uncle Talley, you are an engineer and the very fact that you would ask such a question shows that you probably ought to buy one. You have an inquiring mind and always have and won't be satisfied until you figure out how to make one of these work." He wasn't convinced.

A few weeks later he visited my folks again and said that he had asked his son the same question and Robert said something like, "Well, Dad, you are an engineer and the very fact that you would ask such a question shows that you probably ought to buy one. You have an inquiring mind and always have and won't be satisfied until you figure out how to make one of these work." I never knew if this was completely accurate, but I accepted it, for he seemed to think it was a "sign." So he bought one and I did the best I could to teach him how to work it. I installed his e-mail and taught him how to use it. Others helped when I could not. However, I visited as often as I could, for visiting my Uncle Talley and my Aunt Ruth was always a joy to me.

I was there towards "The End" and I look back and remember my thoughts of the man and what others said about him and how my dad always taught me that if I would only be as honest as his big brother, then people would trust me. My dad said that his big brother, "T.W." was the most honest man he had ever known.

Now I am getting up there in years and I know that humans are...well, "human" and my uncle wasn't any different in that respect. However, "Respect" is what he earned, for Jacksonville made him the mayor, and named a street after him and there are MANY businessmen who remember him as their inspiration and the "Industrial Founding Father of Jacksonville, Texas." But he was more than that to me. He was...My Uncle Talley.  —MN



Some Of Uncle Talley's Patents
Be Sure To Click On The Thumbnails!



Here's a photo of Uncle Talley using his computer in about 1997. I'm proud of the fact that I helped talk him into getting a computer, as I knew he would be able to learn to use it. He could master nearly anything.


Painted by "Penny Nichols" (Ruth Mary Nichols, but I have NEVER heard anybody call her anything but Penny) sometime in the 1950's.


My dear Aunt Ruth Nichols in about 1997. She's quite a lady. Wife of my Uncle Talley and took care of me many times in the 1950's. Even saved a family member's life! I love her to pieces! She lived to be 100 and went to be with Our Lord in 2015.

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