Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Grandfather's Legacy


My grandfather's grandfather was a knife maker. He invented--and I promise, I'm not making this up--the serrated-edge bread knife, a story Grandad would've told you in a heartbeat if you'd asked. All through the late 19th century, his company manufactured knives in northern Ohio, and continued until two world wars made steel so expensive that they couldn't maintain the patents and competition made the company less profitable.

It never went out of business, though, and through 2007, my grandfather continued to run it nearly single-handedly out of the warehouse building his father had purchased. In November of that year, my grandfather died and the business came to a halt.

Had I ever won the lottery, buying that company and building it up again would've been one of my fondest wishes. No lottery for me, I'm afraid. But it's been very cool to see what's happened to the legacy my Grandad left behind.

One example? The image, above, is a commissioned sculpture using the parts from the factory that were originally designed to manufacture the signature Christy Knife, the sliding-blade pocket knife my great-grandfather invented after dreaming about it late one night.

From an email I received from my aunt:

The Fremont Public School Art teachers were commissioned to create a
sculpture for Memorial Hospital. The sculpture reflects Louise
Nevelson's work, a Russian born American Abstract Expressionist. The
sculpture is Mind, Body, and Spirit. The pieces used to develop this
sculpture have been donated by the Christy Company.
They are the boxes and patterns used in production. The patterns were
used to make castings. The castings were used to make the machinery,
that was used to manufacture Christy products.


I think Grandad would've liked that.

6 comments:

Knit - R - Done said...

Wow. That's a story to treasure.

dana said...

Seriously cool. Your grandfather is famous.

michael moebes, esq. said...

Good post, and congrats on the newly-increased Google PageRank (3 is good!)!

spider said...

This is TOO cool!

Claudia said...

Thank you very much for your continuous bias tape tutorial, which I found in Sigrid's tutorials. And also now every time I use my serrated knife (almost dayly) I'm going to think that you had the coolest grandfather :)

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!