Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Gruber Wagon Works

Cold press used to add iron "tires" to wooden wagon wheels.
I went exploring at the Gruber Wagon Works today.  Begun in 1882 by Franklin H. Gruber, a single craftsman, this grew into a 20-man, family run business. At the beginning, everything was done by hand. By the time it closed in 1971, the Gruber family had adopted a pulley system, first powered by horse, then by water, finally by gas engine. In 1976 the Army Corp of Engineers relocated the entire works, including over 19,000 tools left behind at the end of its run, to its current location near the Berks County Heritage Center.

Even cooler, my grandmother lived just past the original location when I was a very, very small child.  I remember going there, though I don't know why.  There was a kindly old gentleman who took me exploring and explained how things worked.  Jean, my wonderful guide today, let me wander on the other side of the ropes and I saw some things I remembered from when I was small.  A wooden clamp.  The boxes and boxes of iron parts.  The sound of the cold press in the picture.  And amazingly, I'm positive it smelled the same.  Isn't it odd, the things your memories hold?

If you've never been to see the Wagon Works, I recommend going.  It's a true piece of history that has managed to survive in excellent condition.   For more pics, stop by my JPG page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a cool looking place. I know...scent does it every time. I too notice when things smell the same as I remember from being younger. Scent evokes memory. It's kind of amazing, really.
Thanks for sharing!