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Dinner Party Fodder

Shannon Wetzel

The holiday season is upon us and with it brings many opportunities to celebrate with friends and family. Community and school events, family gatherings, and parties with friends fill the calendar quickly. I relish the chance to catch up with the people in my life, and of course, I can’t miss the chance to elegantly and naturally insert metalcasting into the conversation. Here are nine ways I plan on spreading the joy of foundries this season. Please feel free to steal; or better yet, share your own metallurgical segues with me at swetzel@afsinc.org.   

1. The Artemis I launch is an exciting first event on the road to human exploration of the moon and Mars. The rocket consists of a number of highly-engineered castings. 

2. Elon Musk has been making headlines with his purchase of Twitter. The boat-rocker has also been making waves in the casting world with the megacasting machines used to produce huge diecast parts for Tesla cars. Now the technology is catching on at Maserati and Volvo.

3. If you think I’m going to notice my brother-in-law making biscuits in a cast iron skillet and not mention I’ve been to the Lodge Cast Iron foundry, you would be mistaken.

4. Long leisurely days spent with my family means a chance to talk with my dad about his lifelong hobby and passion—model railroading. A YouTube content creator (@Rochsub), as well, he occasionally posts unboxing and review videos of the diecast rail cars he has purchased. I always enjoy talking with him about diecasting from the end-consumer perspective. 

5. I’ll be sure to point out the decorative cast iron streetlamps adorned with holiday greenery and lights in our small downtown during the annual Christmas tree lighting event.

6. When the handbell choir starts up at the annual Christmas cantata, I’ll mention to my husband the bells are cast in bronze. I’m pretty sure I haven’t told him that fact yet.

7. My nephew is a Carolina Panthers fan. He may be interested to know a potential new Panthers stadium is likely to be built on the former site of Charlotte Pipe Foundry, which is building a brand new plant east of Charlotte. 

8. Did you know there was a National Toy Hall of Fame? Well, it’s based out of Rochester, New York, and this year it inducted three honorees—Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe (He-Man), and the top. Speaking of toy tops, Pittsburg State University students this year held an event where they invited young children to their lab to help create their own cast spinning tops (see page 47).

9. When a friend comes to the Ugly Christmas Sweater party wearing an homage to the risqué  lamp from the Christmas Story movie, it will remind me that the AFS Metalcasting Congress 2023 is going to be held in Cleveland, where the movie was filmed.

Truthfully, my friends and family will respond to my nuggets of foundry trivia with a mix of bemusement, good-natured eyerolls, and genuine interest. But I’m proud to be covering this industry, and enjoy spreading the many, many ways metalcasting affects our daily lives.