FireDrake Wrought Iron

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Artist & Company Background

     Harry Hartman designed all of the furniture and lighting fixtures on this web site over thirty years ago while teaching Industrial Arts.  At that time he tried marketing his products by placing them on consignment, but the consignee sold all of the merchandise and kept the money. He then became the Model Shop Manager of thirty-two men at NCR Corporation for two years before starting his own business, Gallery Of Machines, twenty-seven years ago. Gallery Of Machines buys and sells new and used machine tools in addition to rebuilding and re-manufacturing machinery.

     Harry has numerous books on wrought iron work of the early 1900’s and older and books of wrought iron work from Europe. During these periods electric welding had not been invented and components were forge welded together by heating two pieces of steel red-hot and hammering them against each other. It is this period of wrought iron design and fabrication that Firedrake is trying to emulate.  Over the past thirty years Harry has noted the lack of congruity between the design of table and floor lamps, chandeliers, and furnishings such as coffee tables and end tables. Table and floor lamps of similar design may be found, but they do not match any chandeliers, which in turn don’t match the design of coffee tables or end tables. It is Harry’s intent to bring a line of hand made wrought iron products to the market place, which are uniform in their design concept.  If a person studies the older wrought iron designs it can be seen that most of the gates, railings and fences are begun with rectilinear components, which are then filled in with various scroll configurations to strengthen the whole fabrication. A rectangular shape does not have much strength by itself and the scrolls have even less strength, but together they form a lattice which is relatively strong for the amount of metal utilized. The straight members often have twists to enhance their aesthetic value and the ends of the scrolls are tapered in one way or another for the same reason.  Firedrake attaches the scrolls to the straight pieces by tack welding small tangent areas, which are later concealed by collars, which also secure the scrolls to the straight members. We additionally use round head rivets and collars to secure some of the scrolls to each other. One final thing we do to all of our pieces is to heat the ends of the square bars red hot and slit them diagonally to form a sort of rose bud.  Mr. Hartman equals the design of wrought iron products to that of a tree.  The square components are like the trunk of the tree and the scrolls may be equated to the branches.  The branches by them-selves have no strength and neither do the scrolls.  He sees scrolls used vertically as structural members and welded horizontally end to end to tie coffee table legs together, which in his judgment is not good design practice because it makes no sense structurally.