It took a great deal of time to locate a foundry that could first of all accept small production and secondly agree to cast iron “the way it was done” in the 1920’s.
Indeed the sand used today in many foundries is not the same…it has bonding agents that make the mould removal easier preventing the sand from breaking. This is progress. The result is less wastage and associated costs. Well true to my objectives to make the closest possible to original as imaginable I had arranged with this foundry that they use the good old sand….it meant more labour and higher cost but that’s what it takes.
I had many meetings with the main man for production (the foundry having 12 employees….so…) so they could cast the Western Electric parts as in the 1920’s. I learnt so much that helped refine the models I make, admittedly this approach was really new to him as his clients were not seeking “like original” at least to the extent I wanted.
Our meetings and subsequent orders made working with this craftsman a true pleasure and as I rank pleasure higher than profit it was truly rewarding. Thank you “E”.
Shortly after placing an order for we13a and we12a parts I received a short email telling me that FVR went bankrupt and was closing down. This made me sad. Not because I had to find another foundry but because their knowhow was going to disappear.
FVR foundry in Normandy was established in 1919. Their initial business was making replacement parts for the textile industry machinery in the upper Normandy region, small cast iron parts, levers, bearing housings etc…Since, the weaving industry has gone to other areas of the world.
FVR moved on to cast for the industries that occupied the void left by the textile industry. Small production, bespoke work was their forte.
Now the adventure is over. Their orders having shifted to another part of the planet instructed to travel there by the all mighty P&L and bottom line.
“E”called me yesterday to tell me I had to come and get my moulds quickly otherwise they would be inaccessible when the factory got locked up tomorrow at noon. So I went for the last time to meet craftsman friend “E” to get those very precious mouldings.
He showed me the very last castings they made that are for the restoration of an historical building.
Thanks to FVR and thanks to “E” for such a pleasant journey. So sad it’s ending this way.
All fun….not this time!
Always sad to see great craftsmen not be able to show their skills. Hopefully, it will work out for everyone at the shop and you too. Bon chance.
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