Academic journal article The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc.

Schroeder Saddletree Factory Restoration in High Gear

Academic journal article The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc.

Schroeder Saddletree Factory Restoration in High Gear

Article excerpt

SHORT SUBJECTS

Skilled craftsmen are once again at work in the Ben Schroeder Saddletree Factory in downtown Madison, Indiana. But they are not making frames for saddles on which the business built its international reputation. They are repairing the factory and its machinery to operable condition for use as a museum, the only in the nation exploring the saddletree maker's craft.

The rambling, wood frame woodworking shop, one of the three structures at the Schroeder factory, is now under repair. It "grew" over a sixty-year period and includes a brick boiler room; a power generating shed with three massive engines and two electrical generators; a sawmill for slicing logs into lumber; and the woodworking area, crammed with bandsaws and table saws, shaping and caving machines, a planer and jointer, and even specialty tools for making wooden clothespins. Carpenters have completed most of the structural repairs to the old building. A new floor of locally sawn white oak planks has been laid. Custom-made siding is being patched into places where old, weather-worn material is not salvageable. Doors and windows are being repaired and re-hung. A new electrical system is being installed.

A machinist specializing in the museum quality of repair of historic machinery is patiently cleaning, examining, and repairing woodworking equipment and the antique electric motors that powered the shop. …

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