Saturday, April 6, 2013

Factory Buzz

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  I visited the foundry in Ansonia this week and followed the old canal that was dug in 1845 a mile-and-a-half to the Kinneytown Dam.  The canal used to run through the middle of town.  Most of it is intact, but only old-timers know its there.  Three of the men were at the foundry, but one was making a social call, and it is still idle.  

Upstream in Waterbury, however,  tube, "in the pipe," so to speak, continues to be processed, and there's still plenty to be photographed. Here, George guides a bundle of partially finished tube to a rack near the draw benches, while Alfred waits in the crane for the signal to lower the tube into the bin.  

In the background, just behind the big, gray scale, you can make out the metal stair-ladder that goes up on top of the extruder. The large hydraulic pumps that drive it can be reached from a catwalk there.  The whole shed was constructed quickly in the build up to World War I and has a sawtooth roof and mechanical iron louvres typical of the period.  The extruder (operations photographed earlier) dates from the 1940s and WWII.

Alfred's day is spent in the crane shuttling up and down the central bay.  Here he has assistance in unhooking the straps, but he needs no such help. In the other bays and in this bay on other shifts, the cranes are operated from below.

What draws my camera, however, is composing the incredible detail and intricacy.