Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maybe It's Not Always About the Fastest Time...

...Maybe sometimes it's simply about paying ATTENTION to time.

Inspiration can come from bizarre places for me. It's obviously no secret I'm a sucker for gears, cogs, and mechanisms. I state it here almost every other post. But how about detailed and artistic craftsmanship when creating a machine that's intended to be useful. There was a time when machines were not only useful and functional, but were also works of art. Where have THOSE days gone?

It's really a shame that a lot of times we have to look to history to show us artistry in mechanisms. In most cases today, creating a machine that was once beautiful and detailed, would now cost 3-fold what it would have cost in that era and take far too long. Delivery dates would be unacceptable for something that simply "serves its duty" and doesn't have to look nice. The end-users ultimately wants to pay less and that's understandable. In the shop it doesn't have to be this way, though!

Anyone ever think about old clocks? Anyone ever notice the amount of detail associated with clocks and time pieces? INCREDIBLE! Everything from the tiniest of gears, to jeweling and engine-turned surfaces. The materials themselves were beautiful. Polished brass or copper, porcelain faces, hand finished chassis. Every functional piece still had thought put into it.

So what's my point? Are you guys paying attention when building your cars and/or other crazy machines? Just because it's function doesn't mean it can't be beautiful! There were actually engine builders that would metal finish and/or engine-turn the INTERIORS of their automotive power plants, even though it would never be seen unless it was dissassembled. Yes, crazy. But the time spent showed dedication to perfection. Functional parts can look beautiful too, and the inspiration can be found in some unique places.

A few years back, I made a trip to Paul Frank's collection of tower clock movements in the basement of his Chicago home. I was fortunate to get a wonderful tour and see some of the most incredible time machines from all over the world. Every one of them boasting some of the most amazing craftsmanship I've ever laid eyes on!

Just some visuals to think about when you're in the garage fabricating parts.

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