ArchiWEB Explorer: Industrial

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Petroleum Pets: Coalinga’s Vanishing Iron Zoo

[ By Steve in Culture & History & Travel. ]

Painted pump jacks with plenty of personality put the “pet” into petroleum at the venerable and vanishing Iron Zoo in and around Coalinga, California.

Formerly known as “Coaling Station A”, the town of Coalinga in Fresno County hitched its wagon to a different type of fossil fuel once the Coalinga Oil Field was discovered in the late 1880s. The subsequent oil boom peaked in the 1910s with pump jacks and steam injectors gradually replacing derricks. By the late 1960s one couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a pump jack… sparking a brainstorm in one Coalinga-area resident who wondered how the ubiquitous “nodding donkeys” could work for the greater good. Or at least, for her greater good.

Welcome to “Santa’s Chinese workshop”, which makes 60 percent of the world’s Christmas decorations

christmas decorations, yiwu, Chinese Christmas factory, Christmas decorations China, festive decurations, yimu decorations, The Guardian

Ever wondered where plastic Christmas decorations come from? Unfortunately they are not made by an army of elves at Santa’s workshop (I wonder their wages are?), but instead, according to an expose by The Guardian, most are produced inside the Chinese village of Yiwu, where 600 factories produce 60 percent of all of the world’s festive decorations. The factory workers in Yiwu put in long hours in less-than-ethical working conditions, often dealing with toxic chemicals that have the potential to cause lasting damage to their health.