Wendell August Forge
Wendell August Forge
The Wendell August Forge first opened their doors in 1923. It is the oldest and largest forge of its kind. Wendell August pioneered the hand forged aluminum industry, and as you tour the production workshop here, you will see how the same process is still used today. These products are truly "Handmade in America." Each piece of gift ware goes through an eleven step process, and is signed by the artists and craftsmen who make it. These one of a kind gift items and collectibles are hand forged works of art.
Take a tour through the production workshop and see the artists and craftsmen make these beautiful pieces. Each piece begins with the die engraving. A master engraver hand cuts an intricate design into a steel die, using a hammer and chisel. This is a difficult process because the engraver has to work backwards to create the desired image when the piece is finished. He "signs" his work by placing his initials, neatly hidden, in each design.
After the engraver is finished, the engraving is then used by the craftsmen to create the beautiful gift items and collectibles. It begins with the hammering. An artisan hammers the metal onto the engraving to create a raised design in a process called Repousse (you can actually try your hand at this on a tour of the plant). Then he adds the Wendell August hallmark and his own personal mark. Another craftsman applies marks around the design to catch light, adding to the beauty of the piece. A distinctive edging is added to give each piece its own personality.
Next comes coloring and polishing. Many pieces are placed into a fire to add black color. A finishing craftsman removes extra coloring, leaving just enough to enhance the design's luster. Finally, after a long and complex process, an artisan hammers the piece into a finished product by using an antique wooden form.
When you visit the Wendell August showroom in Grove City, you will want to take the time to tour through the production workshop and watch these craftsmen at work. The tour is free and also features 80 years and hundreds of historic Wendell August items.
The thing I liked most was a thing where you could put a sheet of aluminum over an engraving and hammer the imprint into the metal. And you get to keep your imprint. There were some interesting pieces that were already made. There was a bowl with a lobster on it and a bowl with a seahorse on it. There was a candle holder that held three candles in it. But that was only on half, there was another half that both of them put together made on piece.
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