Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Extruder



PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:   This is the last of the brass in the Valley of Brass.  The first time I entered and photographed here I looked around and saw a plume of smoke or steam puffing steadily into the joists of the factory shed, and I turned my camera that way. I later learned that was where the whine of straining engines came from, and the heavy clank of steel striking steel so you felt it in the souls of your feet. Without realizing it I had composed a telling photo of the extruder, the most important piece of equipment in the factory. It is the last of its kind, nothing else like it in the country.

When I took that photo I was standing somewhere down the floor from here. Now I am standing at the main controls looking back. Breaktime is almost over.