There's this odd parallel between sailboats, computers — where it's hard to find things made in recent years that are not total garbage. Companies making quality products have all but gone out of business.

Here's the only faucet we could find not made in plastic, made in 1975.

Show thread

We're at least 40 years into the civilisation's collapse, nobody can build this today, some people will say that "they think they could probably build one like that" but they couldn't really, they've long forgotten how to make things that last.

Show thread

@neauoire There's really something magical about getting -cool fixtures- #adulthood

@neauoire Well, I agree we're about 40 years in to civilization's collapse, but that faucet is totally buildable.

The economy is fucked to the point that no one can build it for a price you'd be willing to pay for it, though, and that's a serious problem.

@Miredly they think they could but they wouldn't be able to. People on forums looking for it can't even get a quote for a replica, the company that made this one has changed hands and they don't make it that way anymore, it now has a thin plastic core.

@Miredly @neauoire

Actually there are many small artisan foundries which can make that faucet... assuming you are eager to pay not less than $300 for it and you make your own fusion pattern (in hardwood, not with Fusion360!).
Many of the "star" machinists on YouTube make their parts here:
windyhillfoundry.com/

@GustavinoBevilacqua @Miredly @neauoire I'd be curious to know what a small foundry would charge for a replica... the company that makes the above faucet sells em for USD$485, *new*.

@rek @Miredly @neauoire

You can ask a quote to some foundries, but I think the $485 price is somehow "reasonable", because there is also a lot of machining to finish a faucet after it comes out from the mold (IIRC is ~ US$70/hr).

A very friendly guy who can give you more details, because he's specialized in "resurrection" of very old hardware, is Keith Rucker aka "Vintage Machinery" on YouTube:
vintagemachinery.org/

@GustavinoBevilacqua @Miredly @neauoire Yea it's not unreasonable, it is def worth that price, but it's not affordable (for us anyway). It's good that we can rely on antiques, keep the custom foundry work for anything structural.

@rek @Miredly @neauoire

Even raw brass is expensive, today.
McMaster-Carr has 2" rods, 1 ft. long, of marine-grade 464 brass for "just" $104.79.
Sounds like a jewelry store, to me!

mcmaster.com/metals/copper-bra

@GustavinoBevilacqua @Miredly @neauoire Why it's worth trying to find one that already exists, no further extraction needed. They're out there, people have them, and they're not using em'. The guy I bought the pump from said it's been off his boat since the 90's, that is an insanely long time to keep something around, unused.

@rek @neauoire I will try to locate the oldest object I own out of curiosity. I actually don't know what the oldest object I own is.

@nomand @neauoire Not sure what my oldest object is, maybe my grandfather's Gillette razor from the 60's.

@rek @neauoire I think childhood photos aside (that are my parents anyway), the oldest object for me would be a childhood lego set. The first robotics inventor kit, one with a yellow cpu core

@neauoire I think its more “we couldn’t do it and also feed our families, oohh look a nice military contract byeee”. There are many manufacturing companies here in my area with the same tooling and machinery as the 70s, right next to modern 6xis milling machines.

Most or all of their output is automotive, aerospace or military.

@peregrine that's saying that they can't do it, but with other words.

@neauoire I am a fan of Johnathon Blows talk but I am not a fan of fatalism. He was talking about the words most complex and difficult design and manufacturing products requiring some of the longest supply chains. And he is right there is tremendous fragility there.

If you want an all metal faucet they exist with a little searching/delivery. Just need to pay a premium. $200+ dollars, which in 1975 dollars is $40. Much of the expensive 1975s stuff is cheaper and more available second hand now

@neauoire goodreads.com/book/show/207637

"Why Information Grows" goes into this a question and shows counties get tremendous value moving up the value chain. But the flip side is like this, we become alienated from our everyday lives when everything we actually use is made elsewhere.

@neauoire not trying to say your lived experience is wrong! I agree its insanely difficult and expensive to get great and built to last versions of most things.

@peregrine I'd totally agree if there was more than a single company that still made them, hey if there was 2-3 companies even I wouldn't think this was a dying craft. But a little search will reveal that all the companies making these things are gone.

One of the latest one to add to that list is Shipmate :'( On that same line of thinking Origo stopped making our alcohol stove because they didn't need any maintenance and "just worked", they've moved to building more fragile things now.

@neauoire My favorite story of this is the Budd company - they made railcars that lasted so long they went out of business. When you sell something that lasts eventually you sell the maximum you can.

The need for ever-growing profits incentivizes waste.

youtu.be/CEjozE--YrY

@dualhammers There was a similar story with a lighbulb company that made lightbulbs that never died.

@neauoire The Shelby Electric Company!

When old people gripe "They don't make em like they used to!" they often correct! The problem is that they go onto blame the wrong thing; in the US that means China making "poor quality" products. They are never told the actual systemic cause.

@neauoire
Philips also invented the "everlasting" lightbulb. Its in their main office still working!
They decided not to mass produce the item, but learned how to produce to fail after a certain time. Hotpoint washing machine drum bearings are the same, will fail at 10 year no matter the usage!
@dualhammers

@dualhammers @neauoire that's very true.
In an ideal world, where everybody has all the objects they need, and those objects last forever, I think there would still be a place for new "things", but those things wouldn't be objects, they'd probably be ideas, concepts, art, basically fuel for the mind. That's still a need. The human mind needs to think, to imagine.
I'd love a world like that <3

@nff @dualhammers @neauoire There would be more ppl around offering repair, or maintenance for these products. Good products still need servicing, replacement parts etc.

@rek @dualhammers @neauoire yeah, and for that to happen, objects should be built with reparability and easily replaceable parts in mind.
And good documentation should be generated as well, to minimize the hit-by-a-bus effect.
All of that openly accessible to anyone, and ideally made as simple as possible, to actually encourage diy-repairing, or repairing without the strict need of a specialized person. To the extent possible :)

@dualhammers @neauoire this is a good youtube channel and video and general story.

@dualhammers @neauoire Even without ever-growing profits. It's about making money at all. If you completely solve the problem and require no further action, you will eventually run out of money. I have no clue what to do about it.

@cancel @neauoire This is why I feel the need to find an artisan outlet like Devine has - then you can keep making something people continue to want to pay for. Trying to monetize tools changes the tool.

@neauoire This applies to guitars as well.

I have a 1968 Les Paul. It is GLORIOUS. I can track the decline in quality across the industry starting in the early 70's.

I think you could argue this is true across a whole host of industries.

@thegibson yeah I think that's the case. I just wanted to point a scenario that I was familiar with.

@rek @neauoire oh wow. That's cool. I checked second hand online here for Fynspray (because it's beautiful) but only plastic trash available.

@kor @neauoire Maybe post a wanted ad somewhere? Might work, ya never know.

@neauoire Damn I just checked the price on that sucker. Good thing it looks like it will last for 2,000 years

@neauoire beautiful. That looks like it will last several lifetimes.

@neauoire Gorgeous!

It's probably not worth the shipping for you but there's a really great shop in Hamburg Germany that sells this and similar classic boat stuff (including this pump):

toplicht.de/en/

They also have a wonderful hand-illustrated catalog (although they are sadly but understandably transitioning to using more photos). I get it periodically and start to fantasize about redoing my entire household as a DIY Rube-Goldberg of brass, wood and manila rope.

@praxeology I've been on toplicht before actually while looking for some other things. We're trying to source everything locally or second-hand as much as possible. But it's a good resource for finding new ideas.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Merveilles

Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.