Planned Obsolescence? Not Here!

One common complaint people have with many things they buy these days is that they are designed with the idea that they will, at an appointed time, wear out and become useless, requiring their replacement.

But that wasn’t the case with my old family business, the Vulcan Iron Works.  At the right is a pile hammer it produced in 1905, still on the job in Charlotte, NC, in October 2008.  At the time the business was located in Chicago.  The business was run by my great-great-uncle William and his brother James, whose patent is the principal one for the hammer.  Their brother George had already left Chicago for Washington to serve in the Department of Commerce and Labour under the President at the time, Theodore Roosevelt.

Three and a half years ago I went to New Jersey for the History Channel to view another Vulcan hammer which had been made in 1908 and was also still in service.

If you’re interested in more about the hammers in general and this photo in particular, click here.

One Reply to “Planned Obsolescence? Not Here!”

  1. The sad thing is that sometimes they won’t let you keep your old stuff, even if you want to. I wanted to reactivate an old cell phone, and was told it would be more expensive than getting a new phone. Absurd.


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