The Meking Oyles


Fresh raw materials
melted in crucible

Working average 16 hours
a day
Temperature extemes

A chair of five blokes
The gaffer sat in his chair
Out white heat furnace hole
A gatherer takes glass gather
on his blowing iron
molten glass a life in motion,
molten reflection
Glass gob rolled on marver
smooth iron or stone slab
roll removes air bubbles
passed to blower
either free blows
or blows into mould
bottle body shape
shapes a life in motion,
shapes reflection

third bloke attaches pontil
an Iron bar
onto bottle base
uses wetter off
a soaked strip of wood
applies a drop of water
snaps glass off
blowing iron

soft glass on pontil
Passed to gaffer
Gaffer keeps bottle turning
turns reflection
on his chairs flat arms
stops glass collapse

Gaffer trims, finishes neck
adds string rim
adds any seal
Assistant boy
Inserts iron rod
in bottle mouth
Gaffer applies flash of water
snaps off pontil
that leaves pontil mark
on bottle base.

Finished bottle taken to lehr
for annealing

Boys dip end blowing irons
and pontils in water tank
remove moils
waste glass
working ends of irons
placed in furnace gathering hole
heat up for next gather
next life mirroring

Bosses expected team
produce 150 bottles
an hour

Boys get colds, nausea, vomiting, sore eyes, bloodshot
adult glaucomas common, breast pains,
dizziness, skin disease, fine silica dust lung disease
stamina, commitment

Famous black glass bottles
furnace fumes made black glass colour

Heraldic glass blower, a life in motion,
molten reflection

The Linen Town


In well drained soil sow flax seeds
watch blue bloom, then die

30 Days
seed bolls ripen, warm sun packed day
harvest, hand pull plants
bundle, stack root side down
Side a fence, turn by turn

 ensures even dry

Till firm stemmed, boll rattle

Rippling comb
dry plant pull

Chuck seeds
For 3 days retting
Water drowns plants
swells inner core
tautens fibre

Total rinse
spread out in fields to dry

Flax brake plants
for breaking
quick blows remove
inner bloom

remove last boon
chuck boon

Hackle bed comb
long fibres from shorter tow

Chuck tow

Total card
draws out fibres

Draw fibres
to even slivers

adds first twist to yarn

Sow, pull, dry,
ret, break, scutch, hackle,
card, draw, rove,

bleach, weave, mend,
crop, mangle, wash

Pack warehouse
Plain weave,
three/four leaf twill
huckabacks, dobby,
Jacquards, sheetings,
ticks, damasks,
towelling, ducks,
fancy Hollands.

Clean river Sough,
Clean air
Bright sun.

Two heraldic shuttle memory

The Wire Making Town

Wadsley and Attercliffe forges

bundle Iron/steel rods
arrive on cart

to Jumble Lane, near

May Day Green

Heat under charcoal pit
till red hot

Take away angles,
round it

Wire Drawer gets paid
‘for meking oyles’

wire through largest
tapering hole
in Wortle plate

Make it finer
by a Dog
heavy tool
via wheels and cranks

Watch speed of pull
Wortle plate held by tongs

heat rod then cool
remove scaling

to fit through wortle plates
smaller, smaller holes

finer, finer, finer

fine wire fish hooks, watch springs

hard wire for cotton/woolcard teeth,
riddles, sieves

2 thoughts on “The Meking Oyles

  1. Great poem, Paul. I like the use of technical terms that were used by the craftsmen. Thanks once again for the gift of marver. Line 5 temperature extemes; two thoughts – correct the typo or because your fingers have invented a new word make your brain invent a meaning for it. My starting point was the urban dictionary where teme is a Japanese word for bastard. So is exteme someone who used to be a bastard and no longer is? I have a list of places I want to visit and activities I want to photograph. My fingers created bioxing when my brain intended boxing – I can’t wait to find out what bioxing is!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.