Thursday, July 15, 2010

Looking Back...

I have spoken to several collectors who were not aware that the Wendell August Forge had burned. That their historic building had burned to the ground was sad news but that the business will continue, has been the good news. At present the Forge is operating from other facilities and new property has been purchased for their new building. Although the site will be different, there will be more room to accommodate their needs. In the meantime, a new line of jewelry will be available this fall and their catalog may be available by request.

No one has stated exactly what was saved out of the burning building but it is known that the precious dies which were kept in a vault, were okay. Pictures have been posted on line but I do not have access to any of them but perhaps some may be posted here later.
Over the years a few changes have been made to the techniques used by the Forge in creating their products. The old method of swinging those hammers repeatedly, hour after hour, began to create problems of Carpal Tunnel with numerous workers. The company compensated by installing air hammers. Next, the method of conducting the darkening process has been changed. In the old method, a coal fire was used, and I was told that the heat had to be exactly right to successfully smoke the pieces. In addition the proper heat could be maintained for only a few minutes. The solution was to switch to the use of a chemical, a change we purist regretted. It was this chemical that caused the fire, according to one report.

During my visit to the Forge I was shocked at the shelves of blackened aluminum waiting to be rubbed clean except for the darkening left in the crevices of the patterns. It was almost inconceivable that these black, dirty items would become the polished pieces we are so fond of.
While there I was persuaded to take a few swings of a hammer toward a piece of work in progress. I resisted but lost the battle so, having used a hammer successfully for years and years on many household projects, I took a swing. To my great embarrassment, I did not hit where I was aiming; this, with all the forge workers watching! Why this gal, who had been hitting nails on the head since she was a youngster, failed at that time, is still an embarrassment to me, and I am sure that piece of work had to go into the trash.
A Work in Progress
I am relatively pleased with this new method of creating The Aluminist. There are still decisions to make and some problems to solve. There are still many things to learn, as I've just now discovered! The old Aluminist was printed in two columns and as I was continuing that method in my draft, it was quickly changed into what you are now viewing. For now, that's the way we'll continue.
At this stage, your input is very important.
Not everyone who is an aluminum collector is interested in computer-style communications and these will prefer a printed copy.
Do you, who are reading this now, also prefer to receive the Aluminist by mail?
Will this style of newsletter be one that you can file for reference and participate in much easier?
For those who wish to add comments, find the comment box convenient?
When I use your information, may I use your first name?
(Note … if you are giving cost information about an item, please state if you wish that to remain private.)
If I seem to need guidance in using this electronic method, well, YOU’RE RIGHT, and I’m hoping you will send your thoughts my way!
Seaneen responded to the query about subjects she would be interested in seeing in future issues.
*Sale prices of unusual items.
*An ongoing sharing of pictures, questions, and ideas.,from other collectors.
*pictures of my collection.

Following one suggestion, here are a few of my favorites from my collection. I have a weakness for candle holders as you can see!
Farberware Wendell August Palmer-Smith
Used with footed dish holder Made with different motifs w/ the ball design in solid glass

Unmkd. Wendell August Palmer-Smith Cellini Craft
using their thistle motif including the ball design W/ layered flower petal design