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TITLE
John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (23 of 39)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_SILVERSMITH_23
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
John Fraser
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2247
KEYWORDS
jewellery
jewelry
craftsman
craftsmen
metalwork
silversmiths
audio

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John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate.

In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls sand casting techniques and mentions various types of master patterns. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a Clan Hannah badge with the motto, 'Per Laborem Ad Alta'

'It could be made from lead, it could be made from wood, ceramics, ivory, any of those materials. But the best pattern really, to my way of thinking, was a metal pattern: a brass, bronze or silver pattern because of the fact that you could put a lot of pressure on it with the sand and when you pulled it away you didn't have anything clinging to it, you know, if it was dusted properly, whereas with some of the materials that you would use in casting, as a master pattern, you would have a - lifting it out, you would have a certain draw of very fine particles and those fine particles would be missing on the finished job.

Sometimes you got some excellent castings, you know, and apart from that you could, with sand casting, you could use an ordinary file, you didn't have to have very sophisticated files that you have for the centrifugal casting because the fire stain you had on it was minimal and it could be taken off: it was surface, there was no depth in it. Your casting was bright, very bright.

A lot of that was done and one of the advantages really was that you could, you could spend a morning or an afternoon and you could get so many castings off something if you didn't want to do a production line, you only wanted six, well you could do the six in the quiet hours of the morning. Then all you had to do was give it to the apprentice and he would cut off the sprue and he would file it and dress it all up because it would have a lot of bits and pieces hanging on to it all the way round which you don't have in centrifugal casting. In sand casting, therefore, you would say you had a lot of waste. But in those days waste was nothing, it wasn't counted. It was just one of those things'

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John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (23 of 39)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1970s

jewellery; jewelry; craftsman; craftsmen; metalwork; silversmiths; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: John Fraser, Silversmith

John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls sand casting techniques and mentions various types of master patterns. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a Clan Hannah badge with the motto, 'Per Laborem Ad Alta'<br /> <br /> 'It could be made from lead, it could be made from wood, ceramics, ivory, any of those materials. But the best pattern really, to my way of thinking, was a metal pattern: a brass, bronze or silver pattern because of the fact that you could put a lot of pressure on it with the sand and when you pulled it away you didn't have anything clinging to it, you know, if it was dusted properly, whereas with some of the materials that you would use in casting, as a master pattern, you would have a - lifting it out, you would have a certain draw of very fine particles and those fine particles would be missing on the finished job. <br /> <br /> Sometimes you got some excellent castings, you know, and apart from that you could, with sand casting, you could use an ordinary file, you didn't have to have very sophisticated files that you have for the centrifugal casting because the fire stain you had on it was minimal and it could be taken off: it was surface, there was no depth in it. Your casting was bright, very bright. <br /> <br /> A lot of that was done and one of the advantages really was that you could, you could spend a morning or an afternoon and you could get so many castings off something if you didn't want to do a production line, you only wanted six, well you could do the six in the quiet hours of the morning. Then all you had to do was give it to the apprentice and he would cut off the sprue and he would file it and dress it all up because it would have a lot of bits and pieces hanging on to it all the way round which you don't have in centrifugal casting. In sand casting, therefore, you would say you had a lot of waste. But in those days waste was nothing, it wasn't counted. It was just one of those things'