Friday, February 24, 2012

Antique Fence Gate from a Time Long Forgotten

  For the past two days I have been working at my own home. I rebuilt a chain link gate out of antique parts. I had to be extra cautious in taking apart several gates needed (so as not to damage any of the antique parts that would be impossible to purchase anywhere), to rebuild "one vintage gate" . The Decorative Lion Gate Corners had corroded to the gate railing they were attached to, thus bonding the metals together. If you look closely at the hardware recycled, you will notice that it is not quite ordinary. The "Center Lion Piece" came from a separate antique gate, but was a peculiar antique that I managed to recover in a fence removal. Another thing I noticed; the tension bars that I reused, are much thicker than anything on the market today. In all honesty, I have removed younger tension bars in my career that had been eaten away by the elements. These antique tension bars were in perfect shape minus discoloration; which I find odd, given the advances in technology.

  This area of fence will later be replaced with an Estate Design Wood Fence, and I plan on reallocating the vintage chain link to protect my garden area from our much loved (yet unintentionally, destructive) pets. The gate has been lifted 3" off the ground to ensure no damage is done to the bottom gate corners (which are also antique parts). All parts that that you see "discolored" in the pictures are going to be repainted with a galvanized coating, so as to protect them against the elements.

  What I noticed when disassembling the gate built in the late 50's to early 60's by the original "Killeen Fence Company", the steel was much thicker than what is offered today. The hardware offered in the world of yesterday had decorative elements and quality not even offered today. This is an element that my company has always tried to recapture, which is why I have the utmost respect for it. There was a time when fence contractors offered quality work for a fair price…and it wasn't because code enforcement would come barreling down their throats, it was because they were proud of their finished product. Later (it seems anyhow) people and corporations realized they worked themselves out of work; so they started offering products that do not last as long. Personally, it has been my continued goal to not have to return to a jobsite that I have completed. Yes, we offer a warranty for workmanship; but the goal has always been, for the customer to never have to use it. It is our goal to build a quality product from day one.

  Take a look at the solid decorative lion molded into the gate corner pictured to the left. This gate corner, by the way, is over 50 years old. It is absolutely amazing that it still exists. On the other hand, it is not quite so surprising. This was manufactured in a time when shoes were not disposed of and replaced with new shoes. People that bought shoes in this era had the soles repaired. People valued, and took care of their purchases. This is a decorative touch and ideal that has been long lost and forgotten in todays world, which saddens me.

  I want to take the time to give a special "Thank You" to Killeen Fence Company customers that make our quest possible. Yes, the service we offer may cost more in todays world than something of lesser quality (on that same token, our service costs less in the long run). Yes, the service we offer is a smaller fraction of a bigger whole; but if we are successful in our goals, hopefully, more will follow suit.