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. The characters will often have more than one meaning, depending on the context. However, this one clearly only has one meaning. If you are not familiar with the word scythe - it refers to an old, hand held farm tool with a curved blade that was used to cut down grain or grasses. And yes, it's the classic "grim reaper" tool as well. As I've been getting these translated, there's been a few (like this one) where I think "well, no one is going to want to wear this". But then I actually ran into a lady with a scythe. Her grandfather's scythe to be exact. She was looking to get it repaired. Moral of this story? You just never know what's going to resonate with people.
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.
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.
Your new necklace comes in a gift box with a hand written OAK: One of A Kind tag, along with the story of these intriguing pieces of history.
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.