Bismarck's Tin Man still going strong at 99 years old

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BISMARCK, ND - Bismarck's Tin Man is turning 99 and is still making his namesake.

Ervin Jose is the Tin Man. He's been making models themed after the Wizard of Oz character for years.

"It's a good way to keep from sitting around, not doing anything," said Ervin.

He works out of his son's garage. Within the last few weeks he has sold his car and stopped driving himself, so his kids take him back and forth to the workshop.

"I feel better if I go out there and work a while. I can come in and I sleep better then," said Ervin.

Ervin celebrated his 99 birthday on Sunday. Friends and family came from around the state to celebrate. Ervin has been saying for years that he might retire soon and his son is set to take over production of the tin men when that day does come.

"I'm hoping that I can keep it up like he did. I told him 'you know, I'm not retired yet' so the volume is not going to be there like he would crank out. He would crank out three or four a day. I can't do that, I don't have the time to invest into it," said Layne Jose, Ervin's son.

For now though, it looks like the tin man is going to keep making them himself. Filling orders from some incredibly varied places.

"I've shipped them to London, Germany, Japan, Canada..." Jose said "...and I've shipped them to all over the states you know."

He is a veteran of World War Two, but lost his hand in a farming accident after coming home. Being one-handed hasn't stopped Ervin, he has made more than 2,500 tin men since then.

The Tin Man was joined Sunday by more than forty people, including three of his own children and a number of grandchildren.