The bones had been boiled, the skins salted and soaked in formalin, the hoofs and horns measured and labeled, and the disassembled parts crated and shipped to the Upper West Side. There, on Akeley’s production line, the remains were reassembled and processed into a perfect likeness of what had once been, a “real” copy of reality. The animal had become an “animal." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura
on May 29, 2013 -
documents the restoration to operable status of an early US Army 1911
(1918 pattern) pistol. The 1911 was recovered buried in 3 feet of mud in Tennessee alongside an old bootlegging road. Wanna see the 1911 in action? The incomparable hickok45
gives a run-down of its history and fires a few mags
posted by cthuljew
on Mar 6, 2013 -
Art restoration is probably best left to the professionals, as vividly demonstrated by an elderly Spanish woman's unauthorized attempt to repair a damaged fresco, “Ecce Homo,” by painter Elias Garcia Martinez. The results speak for themselves
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Aug 22, 2012 -
"The fertile Wadi Hanifah valley running through part of Riyadh was for years a rubbish dump and a public health hazard, but now it's been transformed
into a vast park, with lakes that attract cool breezes. It's an oasis so large it's hard to police - making it a place for Saudi citizens to relax, in more senses than one." [more inside]
posted by vidur
on May 28, 2012 -
What you see here is a prime example of what happens to film that is neglected and improperly stored.
This is an original reel from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that is now untouchable. The film has turned acidic, sporting the strongest and most foul vinegar-like odor I have ever smelled. In fact,
Robert Harris told me a story of how his contact lenses were singed by the fumes the film produced, causing temporary retinal damage to his eye. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Apr 27, 2012 -
Buying a car with babysitting money
Kathryn, at age 12, decided that she wanted a Pontiac Fiero for her 16th birthday. After convincing her parents, she bought it and has been restoring it from the ground up, including upholstery, motor rebuilding, welding, and more.
posted by plinth
on Apr 27, 2012 -
As we know, RMS Titanic
was on her ill-fated maiden voyage a century ago this week. Less well-known: the tender ship to Titanic
and her sister Olympic
was the SS Nomadic
. The ship was built on Slipway No. 1 of Harland and Wolff Shipyards
alongside the liners (Olympic and Titanic were built on slipways 2 and 3
, respectively). The massive liners -- each nearly nine hundred feet long and measuring some 45,000 tons -- were too large to dock at Cherbourg, so Nomadic
was used to ferry mail, passengers and cargo aboard at Cherbourg, the liners' last port of call before crossing the Atlantic.
She saw service in both world wars, as a troop carrier in WWI
and again as a troop transport, minelayer and coastal patrol vessel in WWII. After the second war, she returned to service as a tender for Queen Mary
and Queen Elizabeth
Decommissioned in 1968, Nomadic
was converted into a floating restaurant
in Paris. When the business failed around the turn of the century, her superstructure was torn down so she could be towed out to Le Havre. After her owner's death in 2005, she seemed destined for the scrapyard until a group of maritime history enthusiasts began raising funds to buy and restore her. The Northern Ireland government's Department for Social Development purchased the ship and brought her home to Belfast on a barge for restoration
at Harland and Wolff, a company
now mostly devoted to offshore renewable energy.
And thus it is that century after Titanic
and for almost certainly the last time ever, a White Star vessel
is at the Harland and Wolff shipyards
. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit
on Apr 11, 2012 -
This stealthy undertaking was not an act of robbery or espionage but rather a crucial operation in what would become an association called UX, for “Urban eXperiment.” UX is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.” The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris. - Wired.com "The New French Hacker-Artist Underground
posted by The Whelk
on Jan 24, 2012 -
As time has gone by, though, Touch of Evil has acquired a large cult following, and it now regularly appears on lists of the best films of the century. What is not generally known is that the film never accurately reflected Welles's intentions for it. In July 1957, the studio took over the editing of the film and prevented him from participating in its completion. In an odd turn of events, however, a 58-page memo that Welles wrote in 1957 was recently rediscovered, and a small team on which I was film editor and sound mixer has used that remarkable document to bring
Touch of Evil as close as possible to Welles's original concept.
- Walter Murch, 1998
posted by Trurl
on Jun 14, 2011 -
In 2006 in the Fitzwilliam Museum three enormous porcelain vases from seventeenth or eighteenth century China were smashed by a museum visitor who fell down the stairs. This presentation
"follows the vases' progress from scattered fragments to their redisplay in the Fitzwilliam Museum. The site includes slideshows, film clips of the conservation process and a timelapse of one of the vases under reconstruction". [more inside]
posted by paduasoy
on May 5, 2008 -
One day, a vintage motorcycle restorer gets an idea in his head to tackle a new project, restoring an old-timey "board-tracker"
bike. In and of itself, that's not such a big deal; over the past century, vehicle restoration has become equal parts hobby
, and spectator sport
. The catch with this particular project, however, is that there are no existing examples of the bike he wants to rebuild, the last known extant part remaining is a corroded engine case, and there are only 5 known photographs - all of which happen to show just the right side of the bike. This is the story (so far) of Paul Brodie's Excelsior OHC. [via]
posted by the painkiller
on Jan 26, 2007 -
The Mesopotamian Marshlands have been inhabited for so long
that some consider them to be the Garden of Eden
. If this is true, then paradise is mostly lost
. The marshlands have been shrinking since the 1970s
, catastrophically so between 1990
. The Marsh Arabs have a pastoral lifestyle
, relying on fishing and farming. They traditionally live in floating thatched huts, and build grand mudhifs
, which serve as public spaces, but as the marshes have receded, the villages have moved ashore. As dire as it seems, restoration efforts are underway
. But is it too little, too late
posted by owhydididoit
on Sep 3, 2006 -
"The K-Metal from Krypton"
is one of the most important "lost" stories by the original creators of Superman
, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Written and drawn in 1940, but never published, the story would have vastly altered much of the Superman mythos for the next 65 years. Aside from the early introduction of Kryptonite
, the issue would have disclosed Superman's secret identity to Lois Lane, leading to a completely different relationship in which the two worked together as a team. Thanks to the work of readers and fans, including writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross, original art and scripts are slowly being recovered, and the entire issue is being reproduced online
, with full color treatment and missing pages being replicated in Shuster's original drawing style.
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Aug 9, 2006 -
The most modern home built in the world.
"From the outside it looks like a spaceship
you cannot enter. But if you go inside, it feels very cozy… very Zen and calming. Maybe because you are floating above the city
, in the sky". John Lautner
's Chemosphere residence
is the product of a fortuitous union of architect
, client, time and place. Leonard Malin
was a young aerospace engineer in late-1950s L.A. whose father-in-law had just given him a plot north of Mulholland Drive, near Laurel Canyon. The only catch: at roughly 45 degrees, the slope was all but unbuildable. Lautner sketched a bold vertical line, a cross, and a curve above it. "Draw it up," he told his assistant.
publisher Benedikt Taschen owns Chemosphere (NSFW)
, and after 20 years of neglect the house has been beautifully restored (.pdf)
by Frank Escher
posted by matteo
on Apr 7, 2005 -
(mostly pictures, slightly more info here
). One car, two men, three decades of rust. Guy buys truly hideous 1957 prototype car from junkyard, restores it to gleaming unsightliness. Conne_ticut?
posted by planetkyoto
on Mar 30, 2005 -
Don't call her frigid.
After ten years and almost four millions dollars, Glacier Girl
, a P-38F ditched on the ice of Greenland, flies again in Middlesboro, Kentucky. While the restoration and recovery of any old craft is interesting, Glacier Girl
was pulled out from under almost 270 feet of ice.
Her story, in words and pictures. (and oddball html.)
posted by eriko
on Oct 28, 2002 -
World-famous art-deco Seattle ferry (most recently an abandoned Alaskan shrimp factory) rescued from rusty oblivion.
Gutenberg's earlier post
about "ghost pictures" on the old ferry Kalakala sent me looking for more info on the vessel, which I now know was once the second most photographed object in the world, next to the Eiffel tower. Volunteers are now slowly restoring it near Gas Works Park. Cool.
posted by Tubes
on Apr 4, 2002 -