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Some nastalgia of interest

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Bruce Foster, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Bruce Foster

    Bruce Foster Guest

    Around 1984, I had the great opportunity to meet Sinclair Clark at the Jonas Studio in Mount Vernon, NY when Carl Pepi had purchased it......Jonas, was then tanning my African hides, under Sinclair's direction......I spent many hours in the tannery, with Sinclair, and he tought me how to tan and shave hides........at that time, I did not realize how lucky I was.....still to this day, I have his hand written formulas......In looking through some dusty books, I found an origional Jonas catolge from the early 1900's.......and out falls this picture of the Mt Vernon tannery and Sinclair at the shaving table.....thought some of you older guys like me, might enjoy it......that might be a young J.J. in the forground!
  2. I got to Carolina Fur in Raleigh in May of 1986. Sinclair had already left that place by then. I never got to meet him. Thanks for the photo.

  3. Bruce Foster

    Bruce Foster Guest

    Dave.......sorry you did not get to meet him...I know he was instrumental getting Rick Morgan's Carolina Furs up and running......that's why I have always used them for my tanning...maybe OS was even there then......Sinclair was a great guy, and his stories were even better......he told me all about the life -sized Elephant that is in the rotunda of the Smithsonian.......seems there is a old empty Vodka bottle and a silver dollar somewhere inside the rear end.....Carl Linebach supposedly took some naps, like in the Trojan horse while it was being mounted......from what I understand, the skin was shaved by Sinclair in panels, then placed into pre molded exterior plaster casts, hoisted into place, than fitted and secured from inside through a trap door in the belly.....the good old days!...glad you enjoyed the photo Dave....hope some other's find it interesting also......
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Thanks for the memories Bruce. YOu know the sad thing is that Sinclair Clark's name hasn't been out there like many of our other icons of the industry. To top it off, I'd bet very few people know that he was a black man and in a time of bias and prejudice, he was still actively sought by many and whose advice was taken as gospel. John Janelli tells me stories about how he was a tireless worker and with almost superhuman strenght. John tells of Sinclair climbing up in a drying tower with a wet salted buffalo cape over his shoulders and hanging it so it could dry. Someone should write a book about this man who played an integral role in our industry.
  5. Bruce,

    OS and I arrived at Carolina from Texas together in 1986. I have heard many stories about Sinclair over the years in the tanning circles, to George's point, but the one that sticks out the most clearly was his ability to sit on the shaving machine for 12 hours a day everyday. He would also detail flesh his own capes on a beam after shaving them. That is something very few shavers do anymore. The face worker does that level of detail for them.
  6. Bruce Foster

    Bruce Foster Guest

    George..........go figure....I guess the phrase"some of you older guys" got your goat.....and I agree with what you said.....Sinclair was the best at what he did, without color, to taint his wonderful character and knowledge.....we ate together many times .......after hours...... and he did come to one of the first Maryland Taxidermist Association Conventions when it was in it's infincancy......maybe John Griffith remembers......he was a respected part of that formation.....held in Annapolis, Md............remember Big John?.......If I only new, at that time, that I was in the midst of one of the greatest Tanner's and shaver's of our time, I would have picked his brain more than I did......he worked on, tanned and shaved more museum animals than anybody in this century......and was an intragal part, for tanning to be the way it is today.......that photo, brought back allot of great memories, and Sinclair will truly be missed.......I hold his hand written formulas, and memories with great pride.......and feel so lucky to have had the chance to share his space in life......rest in peace Sinclair!...........George and Dave...good Karma to you both....you need it!
  7. Kastaway

    Kastaway Taxidermist, Pioneer of Freeze Drying 1969

    I remember when Sinclair stopped in at my studio in Bedford, Ohio to talk to me about tanning my lifesize animals I had just taken on some of my early trips to Africa. He tanned my lifesize rhinos and cape buffalo I took with a bow and was going to do my elephant, also killed with a bow, but I never got that tanned. That was when he was helping out Rick at Carolina. I will always remember him walking around the shop, like everyone has said, a small man in stature, but tall in knowledge, strength, and kindness..
  8. Bruce Foster

    Bruce Foster Guest

    glad this brought back memories for all that replied........Joe......I still have Sinclair's tanning formula for Elephant.......have used it more than once on the feet......last Elephant foot stool I did, had a slow native on the bottom of it
  9. oldshaver

    oldshaver Guest

    Bruce, Is that Sinclair, in the back of the picture. I mean of the 2 shavers at the table, is he the one on the left. Sinclair taught him how to shave, thats why its so darn hard to meet Ricks standards. Rick never comes on here, but I am going to give him a call to look at this. Dint let the name oldshaver fool you Bruce, I ain't but 42. Last name is Young. Antonym-get it? Thanks much!
  10. Bruce Foster

    Bruce Foster Guest

    Old shaver.........yes, Sinclair is the one in the back, with the hat on, hunched over and in touch with his machine......he shaved with a steel in his hand, and not many passes were made before he kissed the blade with it......you never wanted to touch one of his blades!......I did, and almost lost a finger.......Rick will surely ID him for you......I'll send you guys a copy of the picture if you want it.........I am glad, Rick maintains the quality that I have been so used to since he went into business.......by the way, thanks for the info on S. Africa......waiting for a reply as to the new changes on exports.....boxes coming your way soon....I owe Rick, for the super fast service on the record book cat I sent you that was covered with mold......Northwest lost the export Cities twice, and it sat in warehouse for three months while they dilly dallied around.....super job as usual from Carolina Furs