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Multi Torch Fired Enameling History


A brief history of Joe's impact on Multi Torch Fired Enameling

In 1967 I left Chicago, Illinois and relocated to Minneapolis, MN.  I moved into a downtown seventh floor apartment.  Much to my surprise, looking out my window, across the Mississippi River was an old industrial area where the Smith Torch Company complex was located.  Within a few days I made a visit to the Smith Co. and inquired about the torches I might use in my enamel experiments. After a great deal of discussion with a number of their research and development personnel we came up with two torches.  The number one torch was to be the "Little Torch" used in the jewelry trade and micro assembly manufacturing.  The "Little Torch" was to be my top heat source and the welding assembly tool.  The fuel was to be Oxygen / Acetylene.  The number two torch selected was an 83,000 BTU propane or high pressure natural gas burner with 50 lbs of compressed air.  This was the Smith #NE171 with controls on each side.  This was to be my bottom heat source and was built into the metal top work station. The next project was to put all of this equipment, copper, and enamels together and make it work. I learned many things from Mr. Teeters, the most important was to limit my enamel selection to just a few colors because each color reacted differently to the heat.  I selected nine colors including black and white and worked with these same colors for over fifteen years unlocking the "personality and potential" of each color. The next step was to SHOW, TELL & SELL Having been in sales for many years I knew a number of things had to happen before I could be successful with my new line of art work. 1.  With demonstration (fire) I had to stop the buyer, create interest, and instill the desire to buy.  A large part of the sales process was to teach and explain the art of enameling and the unique process of MTF enameling. 2.  I had to produce a large body of quality pieces, and make them available to the buyer at an affordable price. 3.  I had to maintain a large stock of the finished parts so the finished object could be assembled and restocked in a reasonable period of time. 4.  I needed an attractive display and a knowledgeable sales person.  About this time my wife Lois, appeared on the scene to handle this last requirement. From 1970 thru 1981 I logged over 8,000 hours in public demonstration.  With hard work and long hours, my wife and I were very successful in making a living, teaching, selling and traveling. It would take a few books to really tell it all.  (Lois, has already written one called "Artist or Zoo")  All in all we have had a wonderful journey with this great world of enameling.  Following are a few highlights; 1966 - 1970 Development of the MTF Enameling process 1970 Sept. South Dale Mall (two weeks) 1st Public demonstration and show.  Resulting in a six year contract.  Dayton-Hudson Corp. Minneapolis MN 1973 - 74 World Art Show tours  1975 - 81 Kapok Tree Inn, Clearwater Florida. Resident Artist 1977 Disney World, Orlando, FL.  Empress Lily Riverboat opening.  Ten day Special promotion.   1981 Opening of Safety Harbor, FL Studio.  1991 Enamellist Society Convention. Covington Kentucky.Three day workshop.  Demonstration and Lecture for the convention.   1992 - 2007 International Welding Convention.  Chicago, IL McCormick Place Guest Artist. 1993 International Bonsai Convention.  Orlando FL (First in the USA) Commemorative Bonsai Sculpture Limited Edition of 250 pieces.   2004 - present Hydrogen Technology Application, Inc Consultant in Glass Metal Fusion For 30 years, I have really enjoyed my Safety Harbor Studio...where my work station has a cluster of three torches built into the metal top.  Of course the trusty old "LITTLE TORCH" continues to be my personal paint brush.