Wendell August Forge

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It has officially been a year!

Last Friday marked the one year anniversary of Ozzie moving into our home. January 16, 2014 Ozzie arrived at our home with suitcases holding all his worldly possessions and a plate of cupcakes, bearing the letter “O” for “Ozzie, that he made with his foster mom.

When God led us to Ozzie we had no idea what the upcoming year would hold. We could not have anticipated the journey it would be for our family. We could not foresee the growth that would take place as individuals or as a whole. We had no clue the struggles we would have to work though or the miracles we would witness. We have evolved as a family. Through the struggles we have experienced a deepening of faith, a purifying of character and a better understanding of Christ-like love.

On Friday we celebrated Ozzie.

We gave thanks for God’s plan, for His eternal vision in bringing us our son through such an unexpected way. We celebrated Ozzie’s story…his journey…and the path our family is on.

Friday was also Ozzie’s first official field trip as a home school kid.

Ozzie has adjusted beautifully to being home with the other kids. We worried about the backlash of pulling him out of public school once he was officially ours. We took a leap of faith…

and God has been gracious.

Ozzie is thriving in the home environment and the rigidity of our daily schedule. He loves the routine of it, as well as the absence of the morning rush that came from having to get him ready for school and out the door at an early hour. He loves the curriculum and the opportunity to learn and move ahead at a pace that is personalized for him. It is a delight seeing him blossom and connect with the family in a way that was missing up till this point.

On Friday morning he was especially excited because it was his first outing with the cyber school. He has heard the other kids talk about the field trips they have gone on while he has been at school so he was excited to finally get to join them. Our field trip this past Friday was with Molly’s cyber school, PA Virtual Charter School, to the Wendell August Forge.

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We arrived at the Grove City location at 12:45 pm and had time to look around the shop before the tour began.

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The beautiful shop...

The beautiful shop…

Some of the pieces they had for sale featuring Pittsburgh landmarks.

Some of the pieces they had for sale featuring Pittsburgh landmarks.

The tour began with the history of Wendell August and his company. Here is a bit of what we learned (taken from the company website):

“Wendell August Forge is America’s oldest and largest forge, producing hand-wrought ornamental metalware and elegant giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923. The company was founded in Brockway, Pennsylvania by Wendell McMinn August, who, at age 38, was active in the coal industry.

August engaged Ottone “Tony” Pisoni, a blacksmith in his coal mine, to hand-forge door latches for his home. Admiring the low cost and high quality of Pisoni’s work, August was inspired to start a decorative ironware business. Pisoni was joined by three more blacksmiths who handcrafted the first product line, including one-of- a-kind fireplace andirons, candlesticks, lighting standards, doorknockers, latches, railings, and grilles for windows and doors.

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In 1930, a commission to create decorative aluminum gates and elevator doors for the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) led to a new era of design innovation.

The original gate

The original gate

Pisoni mastered the art of forging aluminum, and the company prospered, forging the designs of James McCausland, an architect who joined Wendell August in 1928 and became Designer and Operations Manager. A commission for architectural remodeling at the Grove City National Bank proved so successful that the Bank’s president convinced Wendell August to relocate to Grove City, even investing in the company to facilitate the move. Wendell August’s Grove City forge is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

As sales of Wendell August giftware soared, the company expanded its product line to include treasured Collector’s Plates and commemoratives; Christmas ornaments and gifts; trays, bowls, and vases; gifts for personalization; and jewelry – but the fabrication process remained the same: each one still individually made by hand, in the tradition of fine craftsmanship. Among its many notable custom designs, Wendell August was engaged to create mementos in honor of the “Millionaires’ Flight” on the Hindenburg air ship, and was commissioned by the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency to produce 12 solid bronze plates commemorating the SALT II treaty between the U.S. and Russia.”

One of three existing momentos from the Hindenberg flight.

One of three existing mementos from the Hindenburg flight.

 

Ozzie listening to the presentation on the company's history.

Ozzie listening to the presentation on the company’s history.

Soon it was time to tour the factory where these beautiful pieces are made.

“The heritage art of Wendell August Forge is preserved by the company’s artisans and craftsmen, who use the original eight-step process to produce every heirloom piece in aluminum, bronze, pewter, sterling silver, and other metals.

This process includes Die Engraving by a master engraver, Material Selection and Cutting, Repousse (Hammering), Surface Anvilling, Edging, Carbon Coloring, a three step polishing process, and Forming. Company artisans create new motifs and designs, while some motifs – like the ever-popular Dogwood – have endured for decades.”

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Gracie, Molly and Rusty on the factory tour.

The little boys found the process fascinating.

The little boys found the process fascinating.

At the end of the tour the kids were given the opportunity to make their own metal piece of craftsmanship. The were given a sheet of aluminum and a heavy mallet. Picking a design they liked, they placed their aluminum sheet over the mold and pounded out the design.

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Ozzie working on his design.

The end results were beautiful…

Tyler used the "boxer" mold.

Tyler used the “boxer” mold.

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As we were leaving Grace decided to use some of her hard-earned babysitting money to purchase an inscribed bookmark with her initial on it.

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Everyone enjoyed their day and Ozzie declared it, “The best home schooling field trip he has ever been on.”

We opted not to point out the obvious…

🙂

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