The Importance of a Junk Pile
Behind every successful workshop lies a valuable junk pile. Everyone has his own ideas of a junk pile and I wish to bring out the positive side of this issue. When I speak of Junk, I am referring only to an iron pile. I do not wish to speak about the city dump yards or a salvage yard, nor do I classify a stack of old washers and dryers as important junk. There are several classes of junk; the "certified junk," the "classical junk," and the "modified junk." There are also junk collectors and dealers who classify themselves as "The Incurable Collector of High Class Junk," or the "Experienced Dealer of Certified Junk." For our study today let us only think of a junk pile as that pile of necessary iron lying behind our workshop. For every machine restored, I have an extra assortment of old iron which serves as a standby for parts and ideas. A pile of iron can be interesting and fascinating to look at. There are those hobbiests who have their junk neatly assorted in rows or piles with wheels on one stack, pulleys in a rack and sprockets in another rack. Then there are those of us who have a diversified pile which simply means everything is piled together and everytime I need a piece of strap iron I begin to pull and pull and upset the whole pile so how can I expect to keep everything neat and assorted?
Now down to some serious business. Yes, I have a high respect for that pile of old useful iron that lies behind every work shop. It is here were you go to find that pulley, or gear needed instead of going to the hardware store where you could not find it. It is a necessary store house of supplies. If one has the ability, time, and interest to organize his junk, it is a pleasure just to walk outside and pick up the exact gear or a sprocket whenever it is needed.
I saw a huge dealers sign stating "We Buy Junk and Sell Antiques." Today this is big business. With every pile of old iron we accumulate there is a good chance that you will find a valuable antique hidden therein.
Also let us remember that every pile of old iron has at one time been useful new merchandise. An average pile may have some iron 20 years old, some 60 years old and perhaps some even 100 years old. Each piece has been at one time purchased as new and was useful. No doubt it was making money for its owner by performing its sole duty in a machine or by itself. By the time it reaches the place behind our shop, it has outlived its original usefulness and changed its value to a useful item in the form of a replacement. Its present value is also projected into the future as an antique or a collectable which will be much sought after by those who appreciate antiques or even more valuable to be in the future generations when our grandchildren consider this item to be a masterpiece of nostalgia.
So whenever we see a pile of old iron let's give it our respect realizing that it has outlived its original usefulness, but has changed its value into another source which we appreciate as we restore our equipment in preparation for the next show season.