How a Local Luthier Found and Fixed Up a Mold-A- Rama Machine

Soon, you’ll be able to visit the machine.

Korinthia Klein is well-known among Milwaukee musicians as the co-owner of Korinthian Violins (2900 S. Delaware Ave.). But the Bay View resident does more than make and fix up stringed instruments. She’s also handy with metal and plastic.

In 2013, inspired by the old Mold-A-Rama at the Milwaukee County Zoo, she decided to search for more of the retro machines (and the plastic molds they produce) with her husband and three kids. Eventually, they learned that someone had mapped the locations of over 100 of the machines, across eight states, and they decided to visit them all.

“It took us to places we never would have looked,” Klein says. A whirlwind tour of the Midwest, Tennessee and Florida netted them about 60 molds and one full- sized machine, which they found in disrepair at the Knoxville Zoo and brought back to Milwaukee. During the pandemic, the Kleins had the machine repaired, then placed it outside their shop and watched as passersby had their own experience getting a fresh dinosaur mold.

“For this year in particular, when it’s been so hard for people to find activities that are outside and safe, it was so much fun to see people light up and kids being excited,” Klein says.

You’ll be able to visit the machine at Korinthian Violins when nice weather returns. Klein would eventually like to retool the machine to create a miniature violin.

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s March issue.

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