Industry, Labor & Wait


Surrounding the workshop of Wyatt Childs Inc., the acreage is stacked with antique stonework, ironwork and enormous millstones and grindstones. It’s literally a garden of earthly delights, and I spent as much time as I could wandering in the yard during the French Oak Roubo Project.

But I missed something, and it took Will Myers to set me straight. After we cut off work on Tuesday night, our clothes shot through with French oak, Will guided me to a huge chunk of rock I’d missed before.

It was the stone architectural ornament shown above. In the center is a skep that is flanked by scales (not sure what is on the scales; they don’t look like coins). Below is written: Industry Labor & Wait.

Bo Childs said the ornament came from an English bank building where it was above the door. The “& Wait” part is what deposit holders are supposed to do when they save their money. I was a bit confused by the American spelling of “labor” on an English bank building, but it’s a big world with a lot of odd spellings.

Will turned to me and said: “You have to have it.”

The piece is massive – it weighs 2,600 pounds. My head spun when thinking about how to move that into the storefront’s biergarten 500 miles away. Apparently I was so dizzy that I asked Bo how much he wanted for his pretty rock.

Bo said: “You have to have it.” And he quoted me a price that I couldn’t say no to.

Getting the rock to my door in Covington is easy via LTL and a liftgate. But the last 20 feet are going to be a creative and careful endeavor. I don’t want my obituary to say I was crushed by a symbol of capitalism.

Stay tuned.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in Personal Favorites, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Industry, Labor & Wait

  1. djmueller says:

    To lament, come the New Year, but less than a quarter remains, we’ll have but two opportunities a year to see this beautiful bit of the past.

  2. Dave Polaschek says:

    I know *I* would probably try to move it with an appliance dolly and a six-pack of liquid courage, but a saner man might see if he knew someone with a spare forklift in the neighborhood. Or even a pallet jack. Or bribe the delivery guy who might just have a pallet jack in his truck.

    If it’s sitting outside when I’m down there for Matt Bickford’s class, I’ll be happy to lend my brain, or less muscular bits, to the problem of getting it moved to the proper location.

  3. Biergarten? I see that as the pediment to the machine building. Stick an extra 4×4 under there, it will hold.

  4. jlminak says:

    Pipe rollers as long as no stairs are involved…

    • David Germeroth says:

      Like jlminsk says. Get yourself half a dozen sections of black iron pipe and roll it into position. My wife and have moved large stone steps that way. Go slow and don’t mash anything.

  5. “(not sure what is on the scales; they don’t look like coins)”

    It’s pretty obvious to me that the scales are measuring bee wings, a common form of currency in the 14th Century. This was the standard until around 1389, when it was replaced with “bee knees”. Unfortunately, neither object was considered of much value, giving birth to the phrase, “That and a bees knee will buy you a cup of coffee.”

  6. People are always asking you to record video or to livestream stuff. Please, please, have Megan make a recording of when you tell Lucy about your new purchase.

  7. Richard Mahler says:

    Once you have it in place you won’t lose any sleep worrying that someone may happen along and knick that pretty rock! Photos of the delivery and moving event are greatly anticipated.

  8. Brian says:

    I’d suggest having an actual smart (e.g. *well* informed) person tell you what’s going on with the black stuff on the stone. It could be anything, but if it’s harmful to the underlying carving in the long run, you might want to have it taken care of…

  9. Chief Bear says:

    Like all easy moves, use a wheel and an inclined plane

  10. Patrick says:

    Too bad you sold the dugout chair. It would have looked good along with that in the biergarten.
    Kind of a throne and coat of arms thing.

    If Lucy isn’t too keen on it you can always take her some place nice (involving a plane ride and hotel) with all the money Bo saved you with his incredible price.

  11. Joe says:

    Many hands make light work. Name the time.

  12. tsstahl says:

    I’d go with jackhammer and Gorilla glue. What? I never claimed my unasked for advice was actually _good_.

  13. Justin L says:

    I’m just a couple of hours away and I work cheap. You know how to reach me.

  14. Caleb Ringwald says:

    Could those be trees flanking the skep? It may be ndicative of your fortune’s growth when you build your account at the bank.

  15. kerry Doyle says:

    when the mass is unloaded, have it set on a series of sturdy pipes acting as rollers. With an extra roller or two in hand, roll the mass forward, removing rollers from the rear and place to front in continuing sequence. It is how some large and heavy mills were moved in a machine/model shop in which I worked a few decades back.

  16. D.M. Jeffers says:

    That’s very interesting, it too bad so much of the surface is lost. I would think the black staining and surface spalling is a result of long term exposure to air pollution, maybe coal smoke. Down the rabbit hole I go to become an internet expert on mechanisms of stone damage.

  17. chucknickerson says:

    Your wife is much more understanding than mine. My serious desire for an antique medieval mortar has triggered some serious ‘drawing a line in the sand’ on her part.

    I just want something to aim across the canyon when the local Ferrari dealer is having one of his all-night parties.

  18. Al says:

    Looks as if there is a word missing between industry and labor.

  19. Kurt Roeder says:

    Deep sympathy to your wife.
    You two made it through the dugout chair together and I know you can get through this. Stay strong.

  20. Joseph Kesselman says:

    Whether the story about the English bank is true or not (how did the stone get to where it is, if so?), I can definitely understand the gotta-have-it reaction. And the beehive goes perfectly with the motto. Pity it isn’t in wood, though.

    Now you’re going to have to decide whether to get someone to try to clean it without damaging it (soda-blast, perhaps, or some other gentler abrasive), or to call it “historic patina” and leave it as it is (perhaps after sealing it, perhaps not).

  21. jenohdit says:

    I agree with Al. It looks like a word is missing after ‘Industry.”

    This article explains the American spelling of Labor. If this applies it may well have been a credit union rather than a bank that the stone came from.

  22. jayedcoins says:

    Earnest question — is this a symbol of capitalism?

Comments are closed.