Re: Melting Pot - meaning

Frederic W. Gleach (fwg1@CORNELL.EDU)
Tue, 14 Dec 1993 15:05:04 -0500

Since I and a great many of the people I know have experience in
glassblowing, candlemaking, jewelry and other metalwork, I have a hard time
thinking of procedures involving the melting and mixing of similar yet
different substances as being all that unusual even today ;-) But yes, I
think it probably was a more common experience, and one form of molten
metal working was very common in the houshold until the widespread use of
cartridge-loading firearms (mid to late 19C), that being the casting of
bullets. One would just melt down the odd scraps of lead from the last
casting, along with new pieces, pour into a mold, and trim. Anyone with
military experience would certainly have been exposed to this, along with
hunters. I remember the process of candlemaking vividly from my childhood,
which was only in the 1960s--not long ago!

>The penny finally dropped, after decades of hearing and reading about the
>`melting pot'.
> The image comes out of metallurgy or foundary work; perhaps alchemy.
> Does this not seem a strange place from which to draw an image? Was
>metallurgy a more common experience late in the 19th C than it is now?
> Yours, curiously,
> James G. Carrier
>29, University Circle / Charlottesville, Virginia, 22903
>(804) 971-2983 /