From January into the end of May I filmed 6 bloomery smelts at The Crucible in Oakland, California. Iron oxide is extracted from sand and then put into a charcoal burning furnace which has a reduction atmosphere. Here the iron get separated from the oxygen and combines into a bloom – a blob of iron ready for further processing by the blacksmiths. The iron was used in an art piece which will be featured in the next video.
Author Archive: Will
This is the indexable clutch that I built for the Marble Machine X. The stacked washers are just temporary until Martin replaces them with gears in his installation/testing video.
I’ve joined the Engineering Team for the Marble Machine X! Part of the reason I haven’t posted any videos on my channel lately is I’m spending much of my free time in the shop working on this part for Martin. I’m almost done and will be shipping it off to him soon. He’ll post a video installing it and at the same time I’ll post my detailed video of making it.
I’m super pleased to have partnered with Destin of Smarter Every Day to contribute to a video on one of my industrial heros, Sir Joseph Whitworth. In this video Destin has some amazing footage of Whitworth cannons being fired through the unique polygonal bore.
In my first video I would love to have used the footage from the above video from 3:23 to 3:39 as it is the only pre-Johansson gage footage I’ve been able to find.
However, British Pathé is claiming copyright of this footage, even though it dates back to World War I. To license about 16 seconds it would cost nearly $600 even though this is for completely non-commercial educational usage which will not be monetized. Ironically, I can freely link to the entire video for you to enjoy.
I strongly suspect they own the rights to the DIGITAL version they created from the original film stock (for which I am grateful they have preserved so much and made available on youtube) but do not own the rights to the original film footage. Assuming I’m correct in this circumstance (it could still be in copyright by other mechanisms of UK law, in particular, if the creators died less than 70 years ago and the copyright was passed to British Pathe) this appears to be a quirk of UK copyright law which allows for digital versions to be copyrighted even though also under UK copyright law you’re not supposed to be able to be able to re-copyright material which has fallen into public domain.
They also claim copyright on this footage of a USA Miss America pageant clip which has me further confused how they can make that claim.
If someone who is familiar with UK copyright could shed some light on the topics here I’d love to know more.
If there is a copy of this WWI footage (film or digital) that is not copyrighted I’d be most grateful.
Another remarkable moment is the “knocker-upper” man at the beginning waking the women to start their shift at the factory. Before electricity and alarm clocks were common this was quite normal practice until the 1950s (or even 1970s) in some areas.
After months of communicating with Ben Russell, the mechanical engineering curator at the Science Museum, London, I finally visited and we took a very close look at the micrometer reputedly made by James Watt.
While I can’t say I can necessarily get interested in what some of these fellows are up to, it does speak to core ideas which I try to convey in my work – appreciation and gratitude. So many of the technological wonders we encounter every day, even something as simple as flushing a toilet or endless glasses of clean water on tap, are truly amazing even though they are incredibly ordinary. And that they are ordinary, dull if you will, is a wonderful thing itself.
Inside the 1950s Heavy Press Program which built the giant 50,000 ton presses which helped America win the Cold War.
First of many very high-resolution beautiful photos I”ve found and edited/cleaned up. Click on the title of this post to see them full size.