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An odd Chas Parker item
Old 10-19-2018, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default An odd Chas Parker item

Here is an item that I recently picked up that is interesting to say the least. It is a cast iron casing of The Last Supper. The back states as made by the Chas Parker Co. from Republic Iron. It is small (about 4"x6"). For a casting from Iron, it really has a lot of fine detail and is very well done.

It came out of the Meriden, CT area, from an older woman whose father was a life long employee of the Charles Parker Co. The story is that this item was made as a gift for employees only and not for the public. And an estimate of less than 300 made.

It was on-line for some time and maybe some here had seen it for sale. The price finally came down to an amount that I was willing to pay for it. Anyway, enjoy.

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Old 10-19-2018, 06:04 PM   #2
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i had the chance to see this the other day-

i was really surprised how much detail they got in the faces on a small cast iron piece
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:20 PM   #3
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Brian, that piece was made in the Cherry St. foundry. My grandfather was the superintendent of the foundry for a few years before he went off on his own. The recipes used by the molders (molders always mixed their own sand in those days) have been lost because modern foundries, with the exception of a very few, have all gone “no-bake” meaning they use resin bonded sand.
Green sand, which wasn’t green, was medium fine silica sand, mixed with cereal flower, bentonite clay, and water. A common practice was to use 10-15% horse manure also. Finer sands could be used in the green sand process which allowed for very good surface finish. Chemically bonded sands require a coarsersand because of the escaping gasses created by burning off the resins.
While our company stopped using the green sand process, it is still used in the art casting shops in France.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:40 PM   #4
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great find for sure...charlie
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Old 10-21-2018, 06:15 PM   #5
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Brian, Is you cast plaque 5 3/4" X 4" ?
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Old 10-21-2018, 06:17 PM   #6
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Yeah. Pretty much. More like 5-7/8” long.
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:30 PM   #7
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Republic Iron Works were the largest supplier of pig iron to the foundry industry, for many years. Some time a while back, I wrote an article in PP about the iron melting cupola, with basics of how it worked, and what it was fed with. The main ingredient used in smaller foundries was, naturally, pig iron. Larger foundries and melting shops used iron ore and alloyed with Silicon and manganese. The Cherry St. foundry, being quite small, bought pig iron, and most probably from Republic. The salesmen would visit these shops on a very frequent basis, because margins were low, and there was competition. Naturally, these salesmen brought loads of goodies, like the tape measure, and pocket pads with risque' ladies on the cover. I remember my dad finding his fathers collection of these, hidden from my grandmother, and dad thought he had them well hidden from me. Ha!
The tape measure is interesting, if only to me,in that it has both std. rule scales and shrink rule (for iron) which was 1/8" longer, per foot than standard. This was for the pattern maker to use, so that the IRON casting, which would shrink, on solidification, by that 1/8" to the foot.
The Last Supper casting seems pretty out of character for novelty items a foundry might make for their salesmen to hand out, like the Parker Bear, or the tiny vise.
The real reason this particular casting was chosen is only meaningful to old time foundrymen, and by old, I mean a lot older than my 71 years.
As you can see, the small casting exhibits pretty fine detail, and for that reason, it was used as a test for molders, who as I said earlier, prepared their own molding sand. The degree of detail was somewhat used to determine the molder, A, could loose mold the piece, and B, with a sand that would impart the detail.
No one even dared breath the fact that the melting department was equally responsible in fluxing and delivering to the pouring crew a molten metal that would also impart the detail.
The identification tape cast into the rear of the piece is an aluminum tape, made in the pattern department, and attached to patterns for just that purpose. That feature would indicate to me your pieces was made post WW1.
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:36 PM   #8
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So, you own a last supper casting as well? And that one is 8” long? I see that yours is different from mine in some of the small details.
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Old 10-21-2018, 10:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Dudley View Post
So, you own a last supper casting as well? And that one is 8” long? I see that yours is different from mine in some of the small details.
No, it’s the same size as yours, just placed the tape measure to show the Republic name. Sorry ‘bout that.
I didn’t study the two in great detail, but they are very close.
Mine has no lettering on the back.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:24 AM   #10
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Not exactly lined up, but you get the idea.
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