Sunday, April 16, 2017

Three Machinists-Steam Punk Before Steam Punk Was Cool

You can almost smell the cutting oil in this photo, feel the spiral cuttings and chips crunch under the soles of your work shoes. There is just something timeless and almost magical about a big industrial-era machine shop. Here was were progress was made. The locomotives, the ships the massive things that made America, they started here. Their bearings and drive rods were carefully and precisely machined here. Now it's all computerized, but then it took smarts and care and patience to hone something remarkable out of a billet of metal. We celebrate an idealized form of steam punk: these fellows lived the real thing!

One of the things I really love about a lot of these old photographs is their clarity: even though this print is fairly small (and appears to have been printed from a damaged glass negative), the optics of the old camera render many wonderful details in this machine shop.

What a cool little oil can!

Someone dropped a spanner down amongst all the metal shavings

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