Category: things we use

Buckets, Crates, Pallets & More

Wednesday 01.29.14

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There is a theme here. Yes, I am cleaning out the archives.

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À Montréal…

Thursday 12.19.13

Better than any museum or guided tour of Montreal was our visit to a really big industrial glass factory. We’re talking production of 500,000 beer bottles in any 24 hour period. This doesn’t include the liquor bottles, mayonnaise jars or other glass vessels that get produced at the same time. I’ve been to a number of factories (glass in particular), but this place was outright SCARY and DANGEROUS and LOUD and GREASY and BEYOND FASCINATING!! I think the word I am looking for here is gobsmacked!

Friends of friends of ours live in Montreal, and the husband works on the line in the factory. He very generously showed us around to every station of the plant. Truly, this was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. I do wish the videos were longer and that I could have taken more footage, but I think that would have broken the rules. What really stuck with me was the level of extreme hazard. I’m talking weaponized molten glass! We have come to think of factories as largely automated or adhering to strict safety measures, but this was anything but. One false move and WHAMMO…there goes your finger or your hand or, for that matter, your whole freakin’ arm. And this doesn’t even begin to address the slippery floor. All those machines need lubrication, and it’s inevitable that in the process of doing so, all the other surfaces get covered in many layers of black oil. It immediately brought to mind the book Fast Food Nation, in which the writer Eric Schlosser describes conditions in our nation’s meat packing industry. I have an entirely new level of respect, and concern, for anyone who manufactures the things we use. Especially at an industrial scale. As a contrast to my experience, look at this sanitized, but highly educational video of the glass making process.

Did I mention how hot it was?

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Lendy’s

Thursday 10.03.13

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Lendy’s Electric, on Grand Street in Manhattan, is one of those holdouts from an earlier time when small scale manufacturers and their accompanying tradesmen (tradeswomen?) dominated the downtown landscape. I always enjoy my visits there: so many unfamiliar things to look at, and I always learn something new. Even if that means appropriating some strange slang for a particular electric receptacle or seeing these schematics for plugs and whatnot. These Select-A-Spring photos are from a visit a couple of years ago.

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Plastic Gloves

Tuesday 09.17.13

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Box of plastic gloves found in my mother’s attic. They were most likely my step-father’s. Pretty sure they pre-date my mother. Each glove is affixed to a sheet of what looks like butcher paper. Strange and graphic. Subtle variations in color and shape, not to mention the odd hand shape, add to their intrigue. I may frame them all together. And…Sensi-Touch appears to still be going strong when it comes to the manufacturing of surgical gloves.

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Class Warfare

Monday 03.11.13

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Oh how times have changed. If only the difference between the classes were based upon the forks with which one dares to eat. We are getting ready to move soon, and so begins the purge of unused possessions. I am very much looking forward to lightening our load.

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Swedish Crown Combs

Wednesday 02.27.13

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These Swedish handmade metal combs are indestructible. Each tooth is individually hand machined out of high grade aluminum. No burrs, no frizz. And they meet the magic standard of a once in a lifetime purchase. I have had these two combs for at least 25 years, if not longer. And it was really only today that I noticed their extreme precision and good looks. I mean look at those radius corners! And then speaking of trademarks (yesterday’s post), Swedish Crown Combs was granted registration in 1968 and let it lapse in 2008. Which is really too bad, because these are very fine tools indeed. I think these are the same combs, but I can’t be certain.

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Warp Lines

Thursday 02.14.13

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I went to art school with Scott Kelley. We lost touch a long time ago but, today, in my search for rope, I accidentally came across his obsessive paintings of these warp lines, which are traditionally heavy ropes used for anchoring, towing or mooring a boat. In this case, the warp is called pot warp, and it is specifically the line used by lobstermen to secure their traps. Scott does, after all, live in Maine. For more go here. And Scott, sorry for the crop here and there. Just wanted to get up closer to the detail.

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