Paul Margolis Photography


Woven Together: The Califon Basket Factory

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In the spring and summer of 1991, I photographed the steam-powered Califon Basket Factory in Califon, N.J.  It seemed a complete anachronism in the last decade of the 20th century, and I felt compelled to document the place before it vanished. I was fascinated by the place: it was a classic – and dangerous – early 20th century factory with overhead drive belts, a leaky steam boiler and big iron machines with whirling gears and blades.  The Califon Basket Factory opened in 1914 and produced wood fruit and vegetable baskets until it ceased operations in the mid-1990s.  It was torn down in 1999, and a house was built on the land.  My life and the focus of my work changed, and I never did anything with those basket factory pictures. The images lay unseen in my negative files until the summer of 2005, when a chance conversation with the Director of the Califon Historical Society led to an exhibition of the work in May of 2006.

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