Restoring A Lost Trade
Mar 12, 2014
Jesse Medrano (Machine Shop Director/expert Cold Headerman) and I (Bryce Campbell, Owner & CEO) visited Chicago two weeks ago and stayed in a Bed and Breakfast called, The Jesse Stone House…fitting for Jesse. Jesse Stone was the original owner who made his fortune by inventing a way to turn biscuits into saltine crackers in the 1800’s. Every room has been restored back to its original Victorian charm.
The purpose of our trip was to buy some used cold heading machines. I buy used American made machinery because I’ve found them to be hardier and less expensive than new imports. However, like the Bed and Breakfast we stayed in, these machines take a season to be renovated. The 45,000 lb header we bought will be used as a secondary 5/8 machine to make our bigger keys (5/8-1/2 inch).
We sought out a few different fastener manufacturers to gain insight into making the new fasteners we’re working on. There’s an interesting condition we noticed. Manufacturers in the USA are closed mouthed about releasing information. All are worried they will be burned, and their competitive advantage lost. Many an innovation has moved to foreign countries because secrets slipped out. I guess it’s a sign of the times and we are no different. While it would be nice to have help with our innovations, the fact we haven’t, is actually a blessing. It’s forced us to become experts in the art of restoring these old cold heading machines back to life.