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Glenn

Blacksmith hoops it up in New York

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The company under which I served my apprenticeship, Lucker Division of American Hoist and Derrick, used to be called the Lucker Manufacturing Company before they were absorbed into Amhoist. The blacksmith in that shop, Fyordor Czub, a russian master, also used to forge basketball rims for the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department under the auspices of Lucker Manufacturing, which used to make playground equipment. Lawrence Lucker, owner of the company, invented a continuous cable tensioning machine, which prompted him to become absorbed by Amhoist, and cease the manufacture of playground equipment. During the last Arab-Israeli War, a lot of ships were sunk in the Suez Canal, prompting the need for a machine which could drag these ships from the bottom of the canal using wire rope, which prompted Lawrence Lucker to invent these machines for doing that. The entire facillity retooled and started to manufacture lifting equipment for that industry. When I served my apprenticeship, Mr. Czub still had the bending jigs that he used in making basketball hoops. For the fun and practice of it, I made several rims. Too bad I am only six feet tall, I was never good at filling those rims with leather!

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Great article Glenn, recently I found out the the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority still employees full time smiths to repair the subway fleet here in Boston. I wonder what other cities employ smiths full time?

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Newcastle City Council still has a blacksmiths shop, but not for much longer. The last blacksmith retired a year 2 ago, and all the forging work was being done by boilermakers. Only last week they removed and scrapped the 3cwt massey hammer, I rang to see what was happening to the hammer, as I knew they had OHS compliance problems with it. Only to be told Yeh we sent it to the scrappys on a truck yesterday, I rang the scrap yard immediately but it had already been sent to the steelworks and melted down. We now do any forging work that they needed the hammer for, mainly only road spikes (spikes used in concrete formwork).
So sad that such a beautiful little hammer that they bought new, and had done so little work, was scrapped on the say so of a office waller. Lake Maquarie City council also had a smith until about 10 years ago, The Hunter District Water Board also had a really nice shop until about 13 years ago, they still have their last blacksmith, he is now one of the executives on "the board" of the Water board!

Phil

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