Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A seemingly normal latex mold... BUT WAIT!!!

It has not gone unnoticed that this blog has not been updated for over a month, so I figured I'd jump back into it with a real doozy. As I was evaluating the mold and cast collection down in the basement, Dr. Wann Langston advised me to keep a lookout for a, well, a historically interesting mold. I found it today, while looking for something else.  From one angle, it looks like an ordinary, but very old, latex mold of an oreodont skull in a block of matrix. Which it is, mostly. But sometimes it looks like a hot water bottle, though from most angles, it looks like a leathery old, uh, leather purse. And why? Because it has (look close, on the right side!) a ZIPPER! Casting material was poured in from the pour spout on the top, and when the plaster set, the mold was unzipped, allowing the cast to be pulled free of the mold. Wowee.

I mean, holy crow, have you ever seen the likes? I sure haven't. This mold was made by (the very clever indeed) Jim Quinn, when he was Jack Wilson's first grad student here at UT. Quinn finished his Ph.D. in 1954, well after Langston recalls meeting him in 1933 at the Field Museum (where he was a preparator), and even after he published this paper in Fieldiana.  I wouldn't be too keen on trying to get one more cast out of this mold, but I'm definitely going to look for some already existing ones in the cabinets downstairs.


Unknown said...

Hi Matt,
Thanks for sharing - it IS COOL!
It is "not my department", but I will share this info with them right away...

Many interesting things are going on in your Lab. Very refreshing to read. Thanks for running this blog!

Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD. Inc.

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

That is very cool! I wonder if it is the same Dr. Quinn that was later a prof. at University of Arkansas until his untimely death in a quarry accident. You should ask Wann or Ernie.
That is a whole new accessory just waiting to happen right there.

iPreparator said...

Yes ReBecca, that is the same fellow. Langston couldn't remember if he ended up in Nebraska or was from Nebraska, I think between you and Greg Brown those questions have been answered.

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Awesome! Thanks for asking Wann. Cool find!