Wood and Metal 8


For a number of years I collected old wood and metalworking tools. They are often very well made and they have a solidity and purposefulness that I greatly admire. Being brought up in an industrial city in the English Midlands they were in use all around me as a child, and like most boys I learned to use the commoner woodworking tools in particular.

The brass fire extinguisher on the right was made in Brentford, London. It was filled with Pyrene (carbon tetrachloride) and worked by pump action. Next to it is a paraffin lamp with a plaited cotton wick and a glass bowl to contain the paraffin. (This still works actually.) In front of it is a varnished slatted wood plant pot holder of unknown origin.

To the left is a brass gasoline/petrol blow torch with a ribbed wooden handle. This was made by the Otto Bernz Company in Rochester, New York. My guess is that it perhaps came over here in the 1940s, when there was quite a lot of additional metalworking going on in the UK.

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10 Responses to Wood and Metal 8

  1. Joe says:

    Great photo, I love the condition of that blowtorch 😄

    • Trifocal says:

      Glad you like it Joe; thought you might 🙂
      I got the blow torch at a sort of vintage/antique shop and over here at least the dealers usually clean things up to get a better price, so I cannot claim any credit for the appearance. What is surprising is that these things tend to be in good enough shape to take the cleaning well, even though they were made decades ago and have often been very heavily used in real life before the dealers get them. Very well built pieces of kit.

  2. I like all these nostalgic objects. It’s amazing how industrial design has changed the century.

  3. I meant “over’ the century.

  4. acuriousgal says:

    Wonderful pieces you have here. What adds to their beauty is that they still work! I wish they made things like they use too, less waste.

    • Trifocal says:

      Specially agree with your last point. One of the things about the old 19th Century industrial buildings was that they had the company names carved into the stone in letters two feet high. Nobody planned for anything other than keeping going for a century or two, and continually improving the things they made as they did so.
      Not quite the start up/make it/sell-out-to-the-biggest-competitor attitude that you see today.

  5. Y. Prior says:

    cool photo – and I love how you arranged the items – 🙂
    also, I grew up near Rochester, NY – (also home of Kodak) and well – this was cool to see that old torch….

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