I believe it has been said before on this blog and I have no doubt that it will be said again. Conservation is not a career for those who desire instant gratification in the work place. Treatment times tend to be long, especially for marine archaeological material where desalination is perhaps the most important process. That being said, every now and then there are days where discovery and success happen in an instant. Last week I was lucky enough to have one of those days.
I’m currently working on a copper alloy bicock valve that was removed from the front of the condenser.
It is a lovely artifact, elegant in its design as are so many mechanical objects from the nineteenth century. While removing the thin layer of concretion that still almost encases the object in its entirety, I found something: an inscription.
This valve is stamped McNab, Carr & Co. New York in tiny block letters under the handle. A bit of research turned up yet another discovery. McNab, Carr & Co. still exists today as M&H Valve Company. They moved from New York to Anniston, Alabama in the mid 1920s and are still there to this day. Even better, they still make valves!