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v. re·paired, re·pair·ing, re·pairs
1. To restore to sound condition after damage or injury; fix
2. To set right; remedy
3. To renew or revitalize.
4. To make up for or compensate for (a loss or wrong, for example).
When I was three, I dropped a penny bank: the ear of my beloved ceramic bear sheared right off. My mother pulled out the glue and we fixed him up together. When I was six, I crashed my bike. My father placed a socket in my bandaged hands and we readjusted the deformed handlebars. When I was eight, I learned how to fix a chipped tile. At 10, I replaced the wheels on my rollerblades. By 15, I could replace the major components of a computer. At 16, I was putting trendy patches on my jeans.
I grew up in a D.I.Y. home. My mother is an amazing seamstress and cook. She made most of my clothes and childhood toys, halloween costumes, and quilts. My father is the handyman. He started remodeling our family home before I was born and he is still putting the “finishing touches” on it. We joke that he has the Winchester curse (keep at it, Dad!). He built us a swing set, a garden, and fixed almost everything we broke. And he insisted that we all helped. Read the rest of this article »
We’ve said it before: repair teaches engineering. During a recent trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., I was reminded just how much when I saw the Wright Flyer III: one of the greatest innovations ever born out of repair.
Considered the first airplane, the Wright Flyer III—built by Orville and Wilbur Wright—was a huge step towards modern flight (which seemed especially relevant as I was cruising back from D.C. at 36,000 feet). Of course, the Wright brothers were not the only ones to tackle early aeronautics, but their innovative techniques in engineering—including the Flyer III and first wind tunnel—came from their hands-on experience in repair.
Before becoming famous, the Wright brothers made their livings by manufacturing and repairing bicycles—pretty good business during the bicycle boom at the turn of the century. The revenue from their handiwork funded their experiments and the building of the Flyer. Read the rest of this article »
Sometimes, we get really cool stuff in our mailbox, like fancy tools and new gadgets—but this one trumps them all. Last week, CEO Kyle Wiens, CXO Luke Soules, and guide-writer extraordinaire Andrew Goldberg got a letter from Mrs. Goldstein’s kindergarten class. These industrious little tykes have been exploring the ins-and-outs of electronics and household appliances in their classroom workshop.
“We’re your biggest fans,” they wrote. Well, Mrs. Goldstein’s class, we’re your biggest fans. By learning about what’s inside all the electronics that make our big world go ’round, you’re also learning about science, engineering, and repair. And, we’re willing to bet, when you grow up, you’ll use that knowledge to make the world a better place for us all.
We sent some tools and repair guides your way to help you put all that stuff back together again. Keep on doing what you’re doing, kiddos. You’re awesome.
Embarrassing, but true: I owned my Baby Taylor for three years before I learned how to change its strings. I had friends change the strings for me, I didn’t pay attention, and suddenly I’m that girl who’s mooching off my friends. And I’m getting the side-eye from guitarists who know what they’re doing.
All real guitarists know how to change guitar strings, I thought. It’s like, the first thing you learn at Guitar School. Followed by the various iterations of the Power Stance. When I finally learned how to re-string my Taylor (many thanks to my ever-patient uncle), I felt like I had finally passed Guitar School 101…even though my power stance was still severely lacking.
And, as cheesy as it sounds, I felt connected to my instrument in a way that I hadn’t before. Learning how to fix something simple—a broken string—on an instrument that I use and love felt good, like it was really mine. As it turns out, other musicians feel the same way. Read the rest of this article »
For most antique dealers and collectors, this little 19th-century mug wouldn’t be worth a second look. After all, it’s broken. Or, at least, it used to be.
Almost 200 years ago, someone dropped the clay mug and it shattered. By modern standards, that should have been the end of mug. But it wasn’t. It took 46 metal staples and 6 metal bands to hold the mug together again, but someone fixed it—and the repair has held together for centuries. Now—rusted, cracked, and patched—the unassuming little mug is one of New York designer Andrew Baseman’s favorite things in the world.
Andrew collects “make-dos”: antiques that have undergone crude, home repairs. Shunned by most collectors, these cobbled-back-together “orphans of the antiques world” find a home in Andrew’s collection.
“Until recently, dealers would discard broken or repaired pieces, never degrading the rest of their merchandise with anything less than perfect,” he explains. “I felt like I was giving these deserving survivors a new lease on life by taking them home and appreciating them for their unique beauty…I like to think that the original owner, some of them hundreds of years ago, repaired their cherished damaged goods, and continued to use and display them, warts and all!”
For Andrew, the more warts the better. His collection includes a broken tobacco-pipe-turned-vase; a delicate Russian teapot with a tin-can patch and metal ribcage-like buttresses; and a tiny toy dog with a wire-and-nail leg. Every new piece he acquires is featured on his blog, Past Imperfect: The Art of Inventive Repair.
Read the rest of this article »