Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Visit With Arthur Armour




      In the mid-eighties, my husband decided that I was so immersed in aluminum lore that we needed to visit the source of its beginning...Grove City, PA. We loaded the travel trailer and away we went on our first trailer east of the Mississippi river. Mid-October was a wonderful time to make the trip: the colors were vivid, fall decorations were everywhere (a trend that had not yet reached Texas) and I marveled at the different architectural styles of the North.                                                             
     We made our first visit to the home of Arthur Armour and were welcomed into the house that he and his bride moved into on their wedding day. It was a warm, pleasant home, made even more pleasant by the warmth of his welcome as he walked out to meet us.


     We had so much to talk about that my on-the-spot note taking was scanty and the Armour home was so filled with unique, sometimes one-of-a-kind, aluminum pieces that I could hardly absorb every thing at first.  To Mr. Armour’s great amusement, I kept jumping up and examining each new and unusual piece as I spotted them located around the living room.
     This room was warm with color: one wall was a deep burgundy, the carpeted floor was also red, both creating a colorful background for the various items collected during his life and the special aluminum pieces that were serving useful purposes throughout the room, many of which had been made for his own enjoyment.
     Firewood was laid in the fireplace behind aluminum andirons, each topped with a horse head. These horse heads were used in many spots throughout the home: on the fireplace tools, as part of a lighted clock, as a decorative touch in the wrought aluminum stair banisters, and even topping a weather vane on the roof.
     Horses were a favorite design for Armour; the Wild Horses shown on many trays of different shapes and the Pioneer scene on the 10 x 14 “ trays are a reflection of his love of horses.
  There was also a mobile of aluminum horses and a glass candy dish with an aluminum lid was topped with a wooden horse head.  There were many other aluminum items throughout the house: candleholders, and a lamp with an aluminum shade and an aluminum calendar holder, which he kept updated with current calendars.
     Despite his love of horses, he stated that his favorite pieces were those of the World Map and one titled Tree, a pastoral scene of a tree with a church in the background.
     He stated that he enjoyed his work so much that he didn’t think about it as work but he admitted that he was very surprised at the attention that was presently being brought to aluminum products.  He remembered as many details as he could but, having given it little thought other than it being a business that no longer existed, his memories were sometimes scanty. In later years, he remembered more details.
     I remember his statement that he did not want to be known or identified only for his work. He stressed that his interests were wide and varied.  “Everything is important to me,” he stated, “artifacts, art, people, music, everything.”
     As we said a good-by, I remarked that in the past as I viewed his work and his picture, I had felt a connection, almost as though I already knew him   
      He replied, “Maybe you did, maybe you did!”

Wild Horses
                                                                               




8 comments:

  1. What a great story, Dannie! It sounds like it was such a rich experience for you. Love it!

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  2. Hi Dannie,

    Nanci from your blog triage class. Looking forward to seeing more of your work. Funny thing is, is that my husbands father's family were from Grove City, PA and I just heard that it was rural and they did lots of hunting which my husband was not into.

    Nanci

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  3. What a great experience and memory to cherish!

    I recall in 1998 checking in to the motel for that year's Aluminum show in PA, that his son was checking in at the same time. When I heard him say his name, I gasped a bit out loud and he acknowledged that, yes, he - Tom, was Arthur's son. Such a very pleasant person!

    To us collector's those names have movie star magic.

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  4. This era of hard working-proud of their workmanship men tugs at ones heart. It was a difficult time but a special time, perhaps because it was the end of an era.

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  5. Great story, Dannie. I graduated from Grove City College!

    Pam from Blog Triage

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  6. Great to hear from you! do have any Grove City or Forge memories you'd like to share?

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  7. Dannie, This is such a wonderful memory!! I remember meeting Mr. Armour at the Aluminum shows in Pa. and I have been friends with Dr. Tom for years now. I have always considered my collection of Armour trays to be my favorite. To me they are an historical treasure.

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