Pencil Sketches at the Old Schwamb Mill

by
John Harvey, MScBMC
166 Carlton Street, #307, Toronto, Ontario M5A 2K5
Tel: (416) 929-4981, Fax: (416) 929-7560
e-mail:  John.Harvey@Sympatico.ca

Beginning in September 1991 and for the following 10 months, John Harvey sat in and around the Old Schwamb Mill, drawing the historical site and its machinery. He had recently been graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. While associated with the Mill, John - a Canadian - decided to pursue a career in medical illustration. He now 'practices' in Toronto.

Mill Brook at The Old Schwamb Mill
 
The Mill Brook, which drops more than 150 feet in two miles through Arlington, powered mills of various kinds at seven mill sites. Waterpower mill technology was implemented on Mill Brook in Arlington for almost 250 years.

 

 Leather Belts and Pulleys for Power Transmission
 
All machines used for woodworking are connected by overhead shafting, leather belts, and pulleys through which energy is transferred from ceiling-mounted motors that in 1954 replaced steam power, which had been introduced in 1872, first supplementing water power and soon replacing it.

 

Pattern Layout Area
 
The first manual step in producing an oval frame is to create a cardboard template for one quarter of the ellipse. The template is then used to inscribe four identical segments onto a single length of rough-sawn kiln dried hardwood stored nearby. after these are cut out on the bandsaw, and eight ends are squared and finger-jointed on a table saw and gang saw, they are next sent to the glue room.

 

Glue Room
 
The four quadrants of a frame are glued together and held in a band clamp overnight as the hide-glue cures.

 

 

Elliptical Face Plate Lathes
 
Here are three of the four lathes used to transform each rough frame into a handsome raw frame with a classic American profile, or other shape, as specified by the customer. The massive tool rest provides a steady anchor for shop-made chisels, continually resharpened, with which the the turner's skill and practice are employed to carve a frame of a quality appropriate for museums and art galleries.

 

Blades for Linear Mouldings
 
About one hundred years ago, the Mill began to manufacture linear mouldings to serve as sides of rectangular frames. On the walls are hundreds of 6-inch lengths of linear moulding profiles identified with customers' names, and racks of sharp steel cutters once used in the S. A. Woods 4-sided moulding machine.


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