News from the Tank Farm

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Work has been progressing nicely out in the Tank Farm. After a week in Tank 1 with the copper alloy artifacts, we refilled the tank with fresh solution, covered it back up with a tarp and moved into Tank 6. Tank 6 and 5 (which we were into this week) hold wrought iron artifacts. They all received a through cleaned via dry ice blasting, which is rapidly becoming one of my new favorite things.

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Turret stanchions waiting for their turned to be cleaned.
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Dry ice blasting a stanchion.

One of the most exciting things about dry ice blasting these artifacts is that removing concretion often reveals previously hidden features. This has been the case for two artifacts in the last two weeks. The first was one of the stanchions off of the turret.

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Roman numerals on the base of a stanchion.
Roman numerals highlighted in red.
Roman numerals highlighted in red.

Stamped on the base of the stanchion is what we suspect to be a Roman numeral, number either XII or XIII. The really nifty part is that if you look at the top edge of the turret there are Roman numerals stamped there as well. We don’t know the exact purpose of these numbers: maybe each stanchion a specific position around the turret? In any event, this is the first time we’ve seen a number stamped onto a stanchion. It’s quite exciting to find new things!!

Diagonal braces from the turret before cleaning.
Diagonal braces from the turret before cleaning.
Lesley dry ice blasting with an inquisitive butterfly overhead.
Lesley dry ice blasting with an inquisitive butterfly overhead.

Our other discovery came this week while one of the diagonal braces from inside the turret was being cleaned. Removal of a layer of corrosion revealed a maker’s mark. The brace is stamped ULSTER. A bit of research brought up that the Ulster Iron Works was located in the town of Saugerties in Ulster County, New York State. It’s about a 100 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River. According to the Directory of Iron and Steel Works of the United States published in 1884, the Ulster Iron Works were built in 1827 and had an annual capacity of 6700 net tons. We’re hoping to do a bit more research on the history of the Ulster Iron Works, enough for a future post.

Ulster stamped on a diagonal brace.
Ulster stamped on a diagonal brace.
Ulster highlighted in red. Note the S is backwards.
Ulster highlighted in red. Note the S is backwards.

We’ll be back out in the Tank Farm next week. We wish you all a safe and happy long weekend!

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