A painting by the Scottish artist John Burr (1831-1893). Tinkers were originally tinsmiths or "tinners". One of many itinerant jobs pursued by a class of casual laborers. These were mostly skilled and specialized crafts like basket making, shoe repair, leather work, and metal work but many poorer workers were migrant farm labor picking hops and … Continue reading “The Travelling Tinker” by John Burr
Here's a wonderful old photograph of a "Tinker Family in Scotland." It is believed to be taken sometime in the 1920s but the location was not identified. The wagon could just about pass for a western American sheep camp. Even thought they had the wealth to own a wagon it was still a pretty tough … Continue reading Tinker Family in Scotland
A collection of tools, stakes, machines and hammers from the 19th century for the professional tinsmith or sheet metal worker.
Stump anvils, stakes, hammers, lamps, mandrel, soldering iron, and other goodies galore. Diderot never missed a lick and this is as good as any. From Diderot and D’Alembert 1763 Encyclopedia of Sciences, Arts and Trades. One of my favorite resources.
Screenshot images from Tinker to Traveller, a documentary about "Two Californian anthropologists who spent a year living with the travelers on a Dublin site in 1970 return to Ireland to learn what has happened in the intervening years."
Tinsmiths were the sheet metal workers of the preindustrial days in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. This almost certainly includes Africa as well but I haven't been able to find any depictions yet. These craftsmen created many everyday objects and mended all sorts of metal. Here we see a smith creating a flask. I … Continue reading Medieval Tinsmith
Here's a man making his way in the modern world but likes being stuck in the late 18th century. Farrier, blacksmith, storyteller, and musician living in his bowtop. Above is a short interview with the man himself from a few years back (opens in a new window). Living in the 21st century, he even maintains … Continue reading Bear the Tinker
The Evolution of the Vardo and where did it begin? I think it's time for a response to some of the correspondence generated from the Vardo known as the Snail that is chronicled on this blog. It's my home on the road and a big part of my life. First of all, thanks for all … Continue reading Retrospective