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Boilermakers craft new LEAP award

Photos courtesy of Brett Pruitt, East Market Studios

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Quill pen sculpture is stroke of historic inspiration

LEGISLATORS OF THE Year who were honored at the 50th anniversary LEAP conference in Washington, D.C., April 24 received a very special gift from the union — a bronze quill pen sculpture uniquely designed and crafted by the Boilermaker History Preservation Department (BHPD).

The quill pen is seated on a simulated carved marble column with the words “integrity,” “courage,” “wisdom” and “statesmanship” engraved at the column’s base. The 2-foot-tall award weighs 5 1/2 pounds. Inspiration for the design hearkened back to the founding fathers, said BHPD Director Charles Jones. “Our constitution was hand-written in ink by men who set aside their differences and quarrels to produce the blueprint for building the greatest country on earth.”

To craft the quill pen, BHPD staff used 3D drawing software and a 3D router as well as a centuries-old “lost wax” casting method.

Creating the sculpture involved making a wooden model, a rubber mold and a wax casting. A ceramic shell was then formed around the casting and fired in a kiln, a process that removes the wax, leaving behind a ceramic mold cavity in the precise shape of the quill pen. The mold was then filled with molten silicon bronze and allowed to cool. Finally, each quill was finished and polished, TIG welded to a mounting post and attached to the base, which the BHPD crafted using using 3D design and printing processes.

International President Newton B. Jones presented the first two newly designed awards to 2018 Legislators of the Year Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH 9th).

The Abe Breehey Legislator of the Year Award is named after the late Boilermakers Legislative Director who passed away in 2011.