Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shop Class - From the Cold Dirt Press Archives (2012)

Various Motors.
Hose Installation.

My late father's workshop was a source of relaxation for him. He was an expert machinist and handyman who worked at the Electrolux factory in Connecticut until they relocated to the south in the mid-1980s.

In his retirement, he repaired and resold abandoned vacuum cleaners that he found on the street. The ancient hoses and motors are still in the workshop and I had to capture them especially this glorious dream in pink albeit a GE model circa the early 1950s. I once had a canister model that he spray-painted gold. It's featured in this video that I filmed in a past life.

G.E. Roll-Around Vacuum.

My hometown of Port Chester, NY was a manufacturing hub for many decades and my dad also worked at the Russell, Burdsall & Ward Bolt and Nut factory. He kept a wooden sign and hung it proudly to be seen as you enter the shop.

R-B & W: Keeping things together.

Joe the cat admires the stove bolt illustrations.

The company published a book in 1924 reflecting on their history with beautifull illustrations of all manners of bolts, screws and nuts. It has flowery text such as: "Here are far-reaching vistas of ponderous machines weirdly human; they have eyes and fingers, nerves and brains. Their insatiable jaws consume millions of pounds of steel rods and bars every month."

Safety first!
I salvaged a pair of the most cumbersome safety goggles with a disintegrating strap, along with my vintage Gibraltar scarf, it helped me to channel the spirit of Rosie the Riveter.

As a kid, I spent many hours hanging around with my dad in his workshop or going with him on his handyman jobs. I am just as comfortable around old drill presses as I am around libraries or garden shows and the skills he passed down are just as handy.

Reflecting on machinery.

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