DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the spring of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, by auto, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the afternoon drew on, near the reputed location of the Cuff Link Museum.
I had first learned of the Cuff Link Museum through the book, Curious New England. Yet I had not visited it, even though I had indeed visited places far more remote from my home (e.g. The Glowing Tombstone and Madison Boulder). And so, on a bleak April morning in the year 2012, while Mud Season gripped the North Country, I made my way to Conway.
Details of the Cufflink Museum are scanty on the Web. Despite a mention in an “article” on cufflinks that seems to be plastered at every content-site Google-spam-farm on the Web, there is little real information. From one single entry I got a street address: 71 Hobbs Street, Conway, New Hampshire. (Curious New England had been less exact — “Take Route 16 north until you come to the high school on your right. Turn left there and go half a mile to the Ham Arena skating rink. You’ll see the Yield House and Renovators sign on the left. The museum is on the third floor of Yield House Industries.”) I knew where the high school was, and I recalled Yield House and Renovator’s Supply, but I knew that Yield House had changed location at least twice over the past decade, and it had been years since I’d seen a Renovator’s Supply catalog. Other tantalizing web-based hints included a report on the museum’s non-profit status from more than a decade ago.
The best description of the Cuff Link Museum was in an article by Polly Bannister called The Cuff Link King. It speaks of Claude Jeanloz, an entrepreneur, the owner of Yield House, who amassed a huge collection of cuff links, and put them on display for the wondering public:
The Cuff Link Museum is housed on the third floor of Yield House Industries in Conway. The building, located on Hobbs Street, off West Main, is industrial looking, a factory, not a museum. But don’t let this fool you — once inside you’ll be mesmerized by row upon row of cherry-colored pedestal cases, chock-full of cuff links, a collection that numbers over 50,000. Above the cases oval plates describe the contents. For every category of gem and metal the cuff links are broken down by shape: “Rhinestones: round, oval, square, rectangle; Gold: round, oval, square, rectangle,” and so forth.
I determined to go, to bring back a report to the fluorosphere. And so I arrived at 71 Hobbs Street, to find that it was indeed a light-industrial area, but no hint of Yield House, no sign for Renovator’s Supply, and no cuff link museum.
As one does when thwarted thus, I retreated to the Conway Public Library to ask the reference librarian where the Cuff Link Museum might have gone. Alas, she did not know, and, although she emailed the town historian, his best suggestion was that I check the Internet.