Sunday, March 5, 2017

Smudge Pots

Mel Munnster asks: "Do you know what a smudge pot, in an art context, was used for in the early 1900s? I'm stumped."

Mel, nowadays the term "smudge pot" usually refers to an oil burner that produces heat and noxious smoke to protect orchards from insects or frost.

I found a source that suggest that hundred years ago, the term had other meanings.

This smudge pot was once owned by Kate Freeman Clark
An old book called The Popular Guide to House Painting, Decoration, Varnishing, and Whitewashing says that "painters will use the contents of their smudge pots i.e., vessel containing refuse paint, for this purpose" (namely for priming a surface). The authors go on to advise against using paint from the smudge pot for priming.

According another early journal for orchard growers, it was a common practice among growers to burn off the contents of their discarded paint pots, together with asphaltum. This would have given off a toxic cloud of lead fumes, but who knew that then?


Rob Howard said...

Smoking, or smudging, a panel was done during sanding in order to insure you were taking down the high spots. The low spots retained some of the dark smudge. Once that was gone, the panel was absolutely flat. It was used in decorative project that required a glass-smooth finish.

Auto body repairmen do something similar with a dusting of special black paint. That points out the ripple that escape the eye until the finish paint is applied.

Jimy said...

nice post