Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gizmos and Photos and Sounds

Remember yesterday's post about the Underwood No 5? Here are some close-ups of the mechanisms. (you can click for close-ups)

I like mechanical things. Our family carries the genes for good eye-hand coordination and for figuring out how things work. If I had lived in a later time I would have enjoyed going into carpentry or engineering or some similar creative logic-driven career.

My dad had mechanical ways. He worked as a hired hand on a farm and he was good at fixing and repairing whatever needed his hand. Out near the barn was an open-air forge where he fired up coal to do minor blacksmith work. It had a wind-up bellows system that provided extra air to the white-hot fire to make it even hotter. In my mind I can still see him pounding and shaping some piece of red-hot iron to repair some part of some broken machine. It seemed like he could fix anything and he was constantly working around the farm. Even after he retired he would often be at the neighbor's place, helping them adjust and fine-tune their combine or tractor. This first photo reminds me of the world of wheels and gizmos and mechanical things that my Dad worked with and amongst.

Me? For awhile I played with vintage Singer sewing machines. Those old machines (1960s and before) were simple in terms of their mechanisms. A few secrets as to needle placement, tension control, etc., and a few drops of oil now and then would keep them running forever.

But this Underwood No. 5 typewriter? It's a good deal more complex than any Singer sewing machine. And it's a good thing I didn't discover the world of vintage typewriters long ago for I would have been collecting them instead of sewing machines.

It's a good thing to have a good sewing machine (or 2 or 3 or 10!) in the house, especially if you enjoy sewing or quilting or mending. But a collection of typewriters? Not a very "useful" collection. How many letters can you type anyway!!! No, no, I'm happy I did not discover vintage typewriters long ago. (And my hubby is probably agreeing with me on that one!)

The second photo reminds me of a choir! Four rows of singers, awaiting their moment. When it is time they will stand and sing the four-part harmony of some great old hymn. They practice on Wednesday nights and there is much laughter and horsing around and the choir director has to snip at them a bit to get them to settle down long enough to rehearse their parts. But this morning...there they are, appropriately sedate, listening to the sermon, ready to stand at the right moment and present beautiful music in worship.

In this third photo I can hear the rich tones of a pipe organ ready to send heavy resonance across the cathedral. Can't you hear 'em? Each pipe proud to have a part. Each sound boasting in its richness. And all of them trying to outsound the next. It's competition at its finest! And loudest!

And this last photo? Ah! Now we've moved from the cathedral to the opera house and we're seated in the upper balcony. I'm thinking tonight's performance must be "Phantom of the Opera."


Dandy said...

Oh my its just gorgeous and I can't wait to show B these posts! He will love this!

Elle Bee said...

I love your interpretation! I never would have gone there, but you did, and I believed it! That was a choir, an organ and an opera house if I've ever seen one! Very clever, Miss Whitestone!