The story behind these linotype pendant necklaces is extraordinary.
Each pendant is an authentic antique brass linotype matrix - an extremely rare piece of history saved from Canada’s oldest Chinese language print shop - Ho Sun Hing printers. They operated in Vancouver's Chinatown for 106 years until their recent closure.
As their business closed, they liquidated everything, and these beautiful pieces of history were days away from being melted down for scrap metal! Now that I've rescued them, they will live on for many more years.
The brass matrices (or “mats”) themselves are the molds for the letter forms from which each character in the line of type was cast.
As I've had them translated, I've learned that the symbols are from a very old dialect that is seldom used today. This translation came back as "fort" or "soil" - or maybe it's actually "fort soil." Either way, it makes me think about the back-to-the-land movement, about gardening, about DIY, staking your claim, and about living and eating close to the earth.
I've had the brass pendants drilled at the actual "bottom" of the mats, which is why the symbols appear to be "upside down" oriented in some of the photos - but they are "right side up" to the wearer of the piece! Each solid brass mat is about 1.25" long, and .25" thick - giving them a lovely, heavy, swinging weight.
The back of this one (second photo) has a couple of lovely divots. These were workaday objects and a few of them got used more than others.
Each special pendant is hung on oxidized sterling silver chain and has a clasp. They come in 3 different lengths that you can choose upon checkout. Common necklace lengths are 18", 24" or 32". However, if you'd like something in between those lengths, just let me know and I'll make it to your specifications.
Because these are antique pieces that were meant to be workaday objects, each pendant bears subtle marks and nicks and small holes from years of use, adding character to these unique pieces.
Please don't worry if some of the photos in this listing are of different symbols; you will receive the exact pendant translation as listed in the TITLE of this listing; "Fort soil / column"
A linotype machine, called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, revolutionized printing, newspapers, and by extension, literacy and society in the early 1900s. It is a "line casting" machine that produced a line of type from hot metal via a keyboard as opposed to hand setting each character into a composing stick from drawers and drawers of type (letterpress)–a giant leap for newsprint.
I have literally hundreds of these amazing symbols, please see this list for some of the other symbols I have gotten translated but are not listed yet.