Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Tag: Design

INDUSTRIAL AGE BIRTHPLACE

This is where it began.

This is where it began, starting with the Slater Mill on the left and building into the Wilkinson Mill, center.

The modest Slater Mill complex in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is honored as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

The operation originated when apprentice Samuel Slater slipped through British security with secrets for textiles manufacturing and was hired by Moses Brown to replicate them in America, with the mill opening in 1793.

The fact that Brown, a Quaker, and his partners advertised for what was essentially stolen information troubles me – I do wonder how they justified their actions when questioned by their Friends meetings. The English, meanwhile, had long before enacted barriers that penalized fellow citizens in Ireland and America. Perhaps that was sufficient inspiration, even before the American Revolutionary War. Perhaps one action apologized for the other.

I was resting my finguers on this waterpowered lathe when I realized it was the origin of mass-production.

I was resting my fingers on this water-powered lathe when I realized it was the origin of mass-production. Without uniform parts, each item would have to be handcrafted from scratch.

 

There were differences between the Quaker Work Ethic and the Puritan Work Ethic, but they would have agreed on this sign.

There were differences between the Quaker Work Ethic and the Puritan Work Ethic, but they would have agreed on this sign.

More remarkably, though, Slater’s assistant, David Wilkinson, then provided the next leap – a lathe that produced large screws that were far more uniform than those painstakingly made by hand. Whether he or Henry Maudslay in England was the first to produce such precise work can be argued, but the results were the foundation for the innovative precision toolmakers who would transform industry. This was, in effect, the foundation for mass production. The thinking behind Wilkinson’s model inspired a league of New Englanders to advance the technology in applications across the region.

I doubt this was the origin of the phrase “Yankee ingenuity,” though it certainly fits.

My fondness for old mills, by the way, did prompt a novel, Big Inca.

OH, SUCH PLEASURE IN THE SPRAY!

Penguins at the New England Aquarium take utter delight in the periodic rounds of spray around their pool.

Penguins at the New England Aquarium take utter delight in the periodic rounds of spray around their pool.

The New England Aquarium at the edge of Boston Harbor is a fascinating destination. And penguins can be endlessly amusing.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

A BACK BAY FLOURISH

 

In the second-floor railing ...

In the second-floor railing, they strike me as a cross between lions and seahorses.

A distinctive railing adorning a Beacon Hill house somehow fits in with the district’s predominantly federalist style.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

OLD STATE HOUSE

Dwarfed by contemporary office towers, the Old State House stands in stark witness to the earlier roots of New England’s enterprising prowess.

Built in 1713 — long before the American Revolution and statehood — the Georgian-style structure originally served the General Court of Massachusetts. In New England, General Court and state Legislature are synonymous.

From colony to statehood.

From colony to statehood.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

HONORING THE MARITIME LEGACY

 

Suspended overhead.

Suspended overhead.

A reconstructed whale skeleton suspended in the New England Aquarium pays homage to the region’s close relationship to the sea. For generations, whaling was a major industry that provided essential oil to illuminate the night. The aquarium sits on a wharf in Boston Harbor.

The city is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

And you knew all along it was a flipper, right?

And you knew all along it was a flipper, right?

 

HANCOCK TOWERS, OLD AND NEW

Designed by I.M. Pei, it's the tallest building in Boston. I love how its surroundings reflect in its mirror.

Designed by Henry N. Cobb of I.M. Pei & Partners, it’s the tallest building in Boston. I love how its surroundings reflect in its mirror. Trinity Church, lower right, is an architectural masterpiece in its own right.

The John Hancock Insurance Co. is celebrated in the two skyscrapers it erected in Boston’s Back Bay.

The city is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or even of the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

Here we are, closer to the ground.

Here we are, closer to the ground.

CLOCKING THE AGES

At the rear of the great hall.

At the rear of the great hall.

The great speeches, lectures, and debates gracing Faneuil Hall over the years reflect the rise and advance of American liberty and democracy.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

GEORGIAN ‘COLONIAL’ REVIVAL

Here’s a local example of the Georgian “Colonial” Revival style, which flourished 1890-1910.

At the turn of the 20th century, nothing could have more pointedly announced a desire to embrace New England’s roots and future.

100_1087Strolling Dover: for more, click here.

THIS MATTER OF HOME

Our Advent readings last year have had me reflecting on the concept of home and how deeply we, as humans, yearn for such a place. Or should I say state of comfort.

It also has me admitting how elusive it’s been for me. Our childhood home was never truly comfortable, physically or emotionally. And in the moves afterward, I often felt more that I’d established a suitable base camp while anticipating the next leap forward. Home, in other words, was always over the horizon.

The closest I’d felt was the craftsman-style house we bought in the Rust Belt, but I knew I wouldn’t be living there forever. I was still building my resume, as the phrase goes, working my way up the management ladder.

More than three decades later, I’ve settled into a community that feels right, though I’m very much an outsider. At least, as far as a career goes, I’ve survived into retirement. As for the house? It’s been my address longer than any other, but somehow it still feels not quite solid. No amount of renovation will ever make it quite right, not with its leaky cellar and foundation. But it’s what I have and where I work at what I love to do. The garden’s in place, and then there’s the loft in my barn.

And then there’s family, with the kids now grown and housed elsewhere. Could it be home, then, is wherever my wife’s cooking? At least that points in a state of awareness direction.

As well as an underlying unsettled element in my own psyche.

~*~

My poems on the challenges of renovations, repairs, and relating as a husband are collected as Home Maintenance, a free ebook at Thistle/Flinch editions.

PEDIMENTS, CORNICES, PILASTERS

Here’s a local example of the Georgian style, which flourished 1750s-1820s.

Kokak2 356Strolling Dover: for more, click here.