Documenting Historic Resources at the Tremont Nail Factory

by Kelly Streeter

Tremont Nail Factory in Wareham, MA
Tremont Nail Factory in Wareham, MA

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak to a Bachelor Design Studio class from Boston Architectural College (BAC) and demonstrate the documentation of historic resources using TPAS™.  Professor Johanna Rowley is directing her students in a case study at the 19th century factory of the Tremont Nail Company in Wareham, MA, a practical application of research and field work with real world implications.

Ms. Rowley first became aware of the site in 2011 while working on a BAC-funded project to investigate disaster recovery at restoration sites in the aftermath of the tornadoes that hit Springfield in 2011.   The site was purchased by the town in 2006 when Acorn Manufacturing moved the nail operation and has languished unused ever since.  Ms. Rowley’s goal is to mobilize her students and the community to help Wareham stabilize and document the site as an initial step in the effort to determine how the adaptation of the buildings and site could serve to fill existing needs of the community.

I met with Johanna and her students to discuss the goals of the site inspection.  The class had previously prepared background drawings from field measurements and archival data.  We then went into the field, with two separate teams working together with a TPAS™ kit to document and photograph the existing conditions at the site.  This information will now be used by the class to assess and prioritize the preservation needs of the site.

It was a fun day at an amazing landmark.  To follow the effort,  “Like”  their Facebook page.

Read article, Hammering out Tremont Nail’s restoration in Wareham

A Visit to Canning Studios

by Kelly Streeter

I had the opportunity to visit John Canning Painting, Plastering and Conservation Studios in Cheshire, CT last week. Bill Barry, John Riccio and I met to discuss the application and customization of the TPAS software to the types of plaster surveys they routinely do. While there, I was able to tour the studio and get a sneak peak at the murals they are designing and executing for the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, CT. What a treat.

The Motion F5v with EyeFi: the site test

Over the past week, while surveying three buildings at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, I tested out our new TPAS  setup on site: the Motion F5v tablet computer running with EyeFi wireless capture and a Pentax WG1 camera.  After 7 years of working almost entirely with TPAS on site, I didn’t think there was much room for improvement.  I was proven wrong.

First, the tablet.

The Motion F5v weighs only 3.3 lbs.  Even though the weight wouldn’t seem to have much of an effect when you are hanging from ropes, it turns out it does.  I could easily hold the tablet with one hand (instead of with a forearm) while taking quick notes, not something I do with the bulkier tablets.  Also the molded handle at the top of the screen is a nice feature.  I often hooked my thumb into the handle to bring it closer to my face while looking at the screen.

Our biggest concerns when choosing tablets are screen visibility and battery life.  I found the screen on the F5 (with the ViewAnywhere option) great to use.  It is easy to control brightness and has great visibility in all kinds of light conditions.  The battery life is more than adequate, as well.  I have not gotten a backup battery for the F5 yet so I was working on one battery and charging up at lunch time and that was more than enough.

I LOVE wireless capture

The people at EyeFi have come up with an amazing concept that (most of the time) works really well.  EyeFi is an SD card that works with some cameras to create an ad hoc network between a computer (in this case, the F5) and the camera.  The network is very easy to set up and in no time I was wirelessly capturing images from my camera directly onto a designated disk on the F5 hard drive.  The only glitch here is that even with all of the newest software and hardware the connection is a bit inconsistent – you don’t ever lose photos, you just don’t always get the immediate satisfaction of seeing the photos transfer right after you take them.  As soon as I got used to it, I was very comfortable turning the ad hoc network off while I surveyed, only turning it on at the end of drops or while I was doing backups.  The time stamps of all of the photos don’t change so there is no change in how TPAS deals with the RESOLVE function.

It is a huge step in the right direction.  After tripping on the USB cord more times than I’d like to imagine, I’m incredibly excited to move towards EyeFi.