Weird and Unusual Collections Used Oil Rags

About a collector of used oil rags, history and description of the collection.



Collector: Ed Haberman, Tama, Ia.

Ed Haberman's interest in grease rags began back in the 1950s, when an ice machine in the family dairy sprang a leak and they bought an oil rag for 8? to keep the floor clean. With the replacement of dirty rags with clean ones, Haberman was on his way to having probably the largest known collection of its kind.

No oil rag is ever passed over by Haberman. He's retrieved them from busy streets in many cities. Donations are also gladly accepted. The rags--now totaling well over 13,000--are all washed before being neatly stacked in his garage and basement.

Mrs. Haberman does not share her husband's fascination with the rags. She once "borrowed" one to do some housecleaning. Mr. Haberman discovered the loss and quickly put an end to such behavior. "She hasn't done it since."

Haberman finds great satisfaction in the people who have taken an interest in his unusual collection. One letter is particularly gratifying. It is from some handicapped residents of Northwest Iowa Work Activity Center in Sheldon, Ia.: "One of our jobs is to smooth grease rags for Spencer A & M Laundry. We smooth 20,000 grease rags each week. We would like you to have this grease rag for your collection. If you are in the area you are welcome to visit us at work." The letter is signed by the handicapped workers.

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