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.