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TITLE
John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (29 of 39)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_SILVERSMITH_29
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
John Fraser
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2255
KEYWORDS
jewellery
jewelry
craftsman
craftsmen
metalwork
silversmiths
furnaces
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 the annealing process, using a blow torch. (Annealing is strengthening or hardening a metal by subjecting it to a process of heating and slow cooling.) The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a Cairngorm brooch.

'But you could use the furnace, mind you, for annealing, if you wanted to, and we did that very often if we had anything we wanted to anneal. But basically you had a blow torch with gas, coal gas, and that was enough, you know. Everything that you had would be annealed with that, a big blow torch. And you had a foot bellows, you know, so it was a right tiring process. Oh, you had to work for your living in those days!

You had to put your foot on the bellows and hold the blow torch, and keep an eye on the silver that you were melting, or that you were annealing, so that it didn't melt. And, of course, if you were like me and a lot of the others, you know, whistling away and looking in all directions and curious about things that were going on elsewhere, you'd nothing left, but a ball in the middle of the, of the asbestos, cos it just melted up. And that happened too sometimes. You know, that happened with gold one time, I remember, where I'd a small piece of gold to anneal and the furnace was on, put it in the furnace, and I seen it change its colour, you know, and I thought, 'I'll leave it a wee bit longer' and then all of a sudden it just disappeared. And it was a ball we got in the bottom of the furnace, after about two hours looking for it. Almost the sack as well, you know!'

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John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (29 of 39)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1970s

jewellery; jewelry; craftsman; craftsmen; metalwork; silversmiths; furnaces; 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 the annealing process, using a blow torch. (Annealing is strengthening or hardening a metal by subjecting it to a process of heating and slow cooling.) The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a Cairngorm brooch.<br /> <br /> 'But you could use the furnace, mind you, for annealing, if you wanted to, and we did that very often if we had anything we wanted to anneal. But basically you had a blow torch with gas, coal gas, and that was enough, you know. Everything that you had would be annealed with that, a big blow torch. And you had a foot bellows, you know, so it was a right tiring process. Oh, you had to work for your living in those days! <br /> <br /> You had to put your foot on the bellows and hold the blow torch, and keep an eye on the silver that you were melting, or that you were annealing, so that it didn't melt. And, of course, if you were like me and a lot of the others, you know, whistling away and looking in all directions and curious about things that were going on elsewhere, you'd nothing left, but a ball in the middle of the, of the asbestos, cos it just melted up. And that happened too sometimes. You know, that happened with gold one time, I remember, where I'd a small piece of gold to anneal and the furnace was on, put it in the furnace, and I seen it change its colour, you know, and I thought, 'I'll leave it a wee bit longer' and then all of a sudden it just disappeared. And it was a ball we got in the bottom of the furnace, after about two hours looking for it. Almost the sack as well, you know!'