Beg, Borrow and Steel: Foundry Mold Collection, ca. 1940s

The appeal of old factory items is easy to grasp, especially when they’re repurposed to fulfill a new duty in a modern setting. They’re durable, show their wear well and perform a function.

What then, when objects — such as this collection of wood foundry molds — are presented as purely decorative? Generally, I would instinctively shy away from this concept. My preference is to gather useful, purposeful items. That said, there’s always room for exceptions to the rule.

This collection is a tribute: an assemblage of trophies commemorating the successful engineering of… something. These wooden parts were carefully designed and then put to use creating casts for what would become steel products utilized in machinery. The molds needed to be precision-made, because any miscalculations or flaws would render the resulting part incompatible with corresponding components.

Unexpectedly soulful, these patterns are mounted on heavy-gauge, steel bases. The paint hues are muted yet still draw the eye  to the elevated presentation of each mold, creating the illusion of them hovering above the table’s surface.

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