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I Forge Iron

Japanese inspired trammel

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Rooting through my ironwork photos and came across an 'early Turley.' The trammel was made to show at the 1976 ABANA conference held in Carbondale, Illinois. I got the idea from a Japanese trammel that a friend showed me. He acquired it from Gumps  in San Francisco. I designed the fish which has a broadened back with a hole through it for the sliding vertical. This makes for a friction stop. I also added the double-running scroll. The pot hook I pretty much copied from the original. The University Galleries at Southern Illinois University acquired the trammel for their permanent collection. You lift the fish's head for height adjustment. Material is wrought iron.


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About 10 years ago, I was at a Southwest Antique show in Albuquerque, where they featured Cowboy and Indian stuff. At one table lay a Japanese forged trammel. I pretended ignorance and asked what it was. They said it was a steelyard (pronounced stillyerd), an unequal arm balance. "Does it have the sliding weight?" I asked. And by golly, they did have one! So I bought it at a fair price and it hangs in my shop so I can use it as a "show-and-tell,"




4 hours ago, Scrambler82 said:

Very nice work, beautiful come to mind, the intricacies of the piece are incredible !

Just how big is this piece ?

Also, I have looked up "trammel", a restrictor; "Japanese Trammel" came up with nothing, and I don't understand the use of the piece, would you please enlighten my mind a little... what is it used for ?  

Thks for posting !

10" x 56" in the closed position for the first one that I had shown, the one I forged.

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36 minutes ago, Scrambler82 said:

Fenced vs not fenced !?

A "trammel" is also a kind of compass for drawing large circles, with movable points on a long beam rather than two legs joined at a pivot. Thus, "trammeled" has exactly the same literal and figurative meanings as "encompassed".


41 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

my association with historical cooking

I'm a big fan of ahistorical cooking, myself.

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Willful ignorance is how I define stupid, Slag. Some buy the role of the genetic dice are not gifted with intelligence, and as this is no falt of their own. Those burdened with intelligence should smile and be patient with them. Ignorance is a curable condition, but in the US the cult of ignorance is a thing wrongfully honored. 

I bette stop now, lol. I may wander to closely to religion and politics. 

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Mr. Stevens,

Most worthy friend.

Most unfortunates who are afflicted by stupidity are genetically impaired and have been so since birth. (Or before even).

There is no "willful" involved.

Willful ignoramuses are a different group of folks. The latter affliction is curable. But those so afflicted, seem to be proud of their condition and rarely seek help.

Hoping that we are still friends.

Respectfully submitted,


SLAG,   ( L.L.P. )

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Trammels are interesting. There is a collector in France who owns more than a hundred of them and most are quite spectacular. He will be holding an exhibition of some with cross and solar motifs decorations.


Having an interest in iron kitchen utensils of New-France, I keep up (as much as work permits) a blog on the subject and there are some articles about trammels. The articles are in French. Here is are links to them : 

This one is a general article about trammels in France, England, Colonial America  and its importance in the days of hearth cooking :


This one is about a trammel I bought in France. It would seem to date prior to 1685 :


This is an analysis of a trammel from the Hotermans Collection in the Stewart museum in Montréal. It dates from 1741 :



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