Friday, December 2, 2011


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Where were we? Oh yes, the extruder! As dragons go, this one's getting on in years, and she's frequently cranky. Imagine how many moving parts there are to become arthritic! Imagine how many systems and sub-systems from the heater man's station behind Bob beneath the blue pane of glass, where the copper blocks begin their trip through the extruder... this, foreground shaft that rotates fingers that lift the newly extruded tube from the murky, green water of the cooling tank, and deliver it to the extruder's final conveyor system? How many shafts and fingers, knuckles and gears strung into differentials all turned on cue by electrical systems and hydraulic systems and nervous systems? How many heating systems and cooling systems, and pipes and ducts, knuckles and hoses with their loads to channel and discharge?

The dragon simmers 24/7 and has been doing so, I understand, pretty continuously for seventy years - seventy years of tuning and oiling and tightening and patching and adapting by a succession of operators, mechanics, and engineers who told each other what to listen for, which hoses to watch to keep the beast happy and keep the work moving. Here she is, still running - quite amazing, really.