Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I'm Part Of The World's Oldest Profession
With apologies to prostitutes and politicians, until there was currency to bamboozle people out of, and rounds of drinks to be ordered but not paid for, their job descriptions were very, very, nebulous for a very long time. But I'm a turner. It's the world's oldest profession. The fellow in the video is a drechsler -- which is German for turner. He's shown at his craft in 1926, making Hitler's fruitbowl or something, back when Hitler was still rubbing his eyes. I could immediately and without hesitation recognize and use everything in the video, although I don't turn bowls. He has better gouges than I do, is all.
Well, it might be the oldest profession. Who knows? But the oldest mechanical apparatus more complicated than the jawbone of an ass known to be used regularly by humans is something called a fiddle drill. Old-school farmers recognized the term. A stick with ropes looped from both ends is pushed and pulled back and forth, turning an axle or wheel, and the resultant spinning made useful for all sorts of things, like broadcasting seeds, for one. It's one of the oldest ways to make a fire, too-- right after waiting to be struck by lightning and throwing yourself on some sticks:
Cavemen didn't have security deposits, but they probably didn't use a fire bow in their living rooms while wearing socks based solely on principle, unlike Joe College here.
Anyway, it was just a matter of turning the apparatus on its side, and then carving the spinning axle with handheld tools to make the jump from fiddle drill to William and Mary turned legs. That, and thirty-four centuries. There's evidence that artisans were turning bowls like you see in the first video, and many other things, in the seventh century BC. We know more about Etruscan bowls than we do about Etruscans.
Many people turn wooden ware, which can also be called treen, nowadays. Sixty Grit, who reads and comments here, is known to do it. I'm sure others do, too. It's considered a gentlemanly way to work with your hands, and it's more practical than the formerly popular pastime of making boats in the basement that don't fit through the bulkhead when they're done. Me, I'm going to go make a fire with a zippo and table leg with my lathe, and try to get my hands on some money. I try not to give any of the money to politicians, so that leaves... (What's that, dear? Oh, nothing.)
Ahem. As I was saying; since I refuse to willingly give my lathe turning money to politicians, that only leaves, er, well, hmm... well, I can always buy more lathe tools with it.