Evening Report

Just watched a caper movie “Criminal” — the kind about “long cons” where you’re not sure which bad guy is on whose side — sort of like 21st century Wall Street. No joke.

I’m back at my desk getting set to resume work on scans of the first 40 antique you-know-whats. I was going to take photos but laying them 3 or 4 at a time on the scanner was easier. Eureka: the scans are so large and detailed that I’m discovering new information. Teensy little hallmarks or proofmarks are visible that we missed with our naked eyes. Suddenly I’m a detective, following the clues, thumbing through the reference books, trying to decipher the mysterious little imprints in the metal.

Sometimes I wonder about the histories of these well-tooled old products of ironsmiths and forges. Were they used for acts of noble courage or in drunken anger? By farmers, cowboys, gamblers? To preserve or to destroy? Mostly from the last 40 years of the nineteeth century, what tales they could tell.

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