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I Forge Iron

No more elegance


natenaaron

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One of my other hobbies is photography.  Someone recently was looking at some of my stuff and commented that an image would make a "great photograveur".  I said thanks and moved on.  For some reason that compliment popped into my head today and I looked into what it would take to make one.  Wow, complicated but intriguing.  This led me to looking for supplies and new presses are crazy expensive.  This led me to looking at old presses, wrongly assuming they would be cheaper.  I was instantly struck by the decorative and elegant nature of the older presses, say 1900 and back.  They were not just functional, they were more.  They drew your eye and held it.  Yes it was a machine, and it served a very utilitarian purpose but the craftsmen obviously took great pride in making them.  Modern presses look like crap in comparison. 

You just don't see that in today's planned obsolescence, fast food world.  Yes those presses were expensive for the time but they were not sitting in the parlors of the rich.  They were machines used in print shops printing books and flyers, church announcements, as well as Rembrandt's wood cuts .  They did not need to be as elegant as they were.  

figured you folks would understand.  Old is on top.  New on the bottom

 

 

pretty press.jpg

ugly press.jpeg

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I've long lamented the way industries have turned their backs on quality.  Sadly, it's not just in the tools.  Look at a grade-school curriculum from the early 1900's and compare it to today. 

Art, architecture, manufacture, thinking.... everything has been dumbed down.

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I see a number of reasons for this. Part of the reason is the "modern" movement in architecture where they rejected ornamentation in favor of "clean" lines in glass and concrete. People like Mies, Le Corbusier and Gropius led that movement. Also around the same time labor started to become more costly. Before, decorations in castings could save materials which were expensive at the cost of additional labor which was cheap, As material costs dropped and labor became more expensive, that combined with decoration going out of style changed the way we made things.

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That Ewbank Jewel is indeed an elegant piece. We have one exactly the same, but not in restored condition. These mangles were made in England by E.W. Bank and are a great example of late 1800s cast iron elegance. We have ours in a display of colonial style laundry equipment. And yes, they were built to last!

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