Monday, April 30, 2012

Carriage Building



Today's picture is from 1899 and shows students at the Hampton Institute learning to build carriages. Wow, talk about something that would take a lot of craftsmanship, imagine building a carriage from scratch. 

I have really been enjoying your comments this week. I find it interesting that there are still a few people out there who make things.

9 comments:

  1. We have a lot of Amish and Old Order Mennonites in our area who still drive one-horse buggies. I wonder who makes their buggies.

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  2. The Amish are pretty self sufficient. Talk about a group of people who can make things. I would assume they make their own buggies.

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  3. Great subject this week. I tend to not get on the internet over the weekend but wanted to respond from Sat's question. My company manufactures gas filters, hydrogen and nitrogen generators right here in Mass. Some lower level sub assemblies are built overseas but for the most part everything is built here in the good ole USA. The best of both worlds. 100 years from now my co. will be on OPD with antique technology like a hydrogen generator.

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  4. Don't you agree that people feel much better about themselves if they have a usful skill? So many people today could have a sense of purpose if they only learned a skill.

    Thank you for providing the great images and discussion.

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  5. We just studied about the Hampton Institute in our history. This is where Booker T. Washington received his education and then later taught before moving ahead and forming Tuskegee Institute.
    BTW was very interested in teaching former slaves valuable trades so that they could support themselves and their families. His autobiography "Up From Slavery" (http://www.bartleby.com/1004/)can be read on line and is a huge inspiration for all of us.

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  6. To me, this pic appears to be one white and one black (African American) man. I wonder who is the instructor? I'm thinking there were probably plenty of black slaves learned very well how to build carriages and wooden wheels. And to maintain them.

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  7. Hampton Institute was started just after the war by concerned white men and women. They wanted to teach trades and skills to the newly freed slaves. Initially, they taught them them basics of survival in this new world.

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  8. Thanks, Joey. I didn't know any of that . . . I will make it a goal to read up on it.

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  9. A really interesting aspect of this is that it gives us a visible image of how rapid the change, indeed the upset, of life was in this period, which really isn't that long ago. Here we see men learning how to be carriage makers in 1899. Assuming the men are young men, let's say 20 years old, by the time they were in their mid 30s this industry would be in very serious decline, and by the time they were in their 50s it would be nearly dead. Some could have switched over to automobile manufacturers, and indeed some carriage and wagon makers did, such as Fisher and Studebaker. But a lot would have had to gone on to new work, their original work having lost its relevance.

    And not just in this industry, but a lot of industries. Saddlemaking, for example, took a pounding in this era.

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