“The abundance of water and the presence of an extensive woodland area in the Apennine Mountains of Pistoia led local populations in the past to specialize in the use of hydraulic energy to move the gears and wood charcoal for the forges for the processing of iron material that mainly came from the mines of the Island of Elba.”
The foundry Salvadori Arte of Pistoia creates works in bronze and ferrous alloys, like cast iron and stainless steel, with the lost-wax technique; the same technique that has been used over the millennia by the Egyptians first, then the Greeks, the Etruscans and the Romans.
It is a most striking experience to watch the “dance” with which all the craftsmen , in a team effort, dynamically and carefully and especially cohesively, move the cauldron to produce metal works with the lost-wax method.
A layer of wax, which is subsequently molded, is used to coat a refractory plaster support; a layer of plaster is then applied onto the wax, which finds itself trapped inside two masses. By heating the casing thus obtained, the wax melts and runs out through specially made vents. The liquid alloy is then poured in the thin space left by the melted wax, which is usually just a few millimetres wide. Once it cools and hardens the metal acquires its desired form.
Even more striking is the thought that this same process was carried out thousands of years ago by people who had neither safety gloves nor safety glasses nor any other type of instrument at their disposal, but who nevertheless managed to overturn this boiling cauldron to produce their great works of craftsmanship.
This type of artistic casting is a typical Pistoian tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
“In the twentieth century, Pistoia, with its 40 foundries, became the city of organs, statues, bells and cymbals.”
Quotations from: “Cento anni in fonderia, opere da tutto il mondo” – Fidalma Menichini e Aldo Bucci, edizione medicea Firenze 2017