Jim Vogel

Boiler Maker

Oil on salvaged steel fire-door (frame collaboration with Christen Vogel), 7'5"h x 3'1"w x 3"d, Item No. 18540,

Boilermaker was a job title given to the skilled tradesmen working in the railroad shops up until the 1950s. My inspiration for this painting originated from the antique steel firedoor it’s painted on. These artifacts from the industrial era brought to mind the railyard shops in Alburquerque, NM. The highly skilled journeymen and their apprentices, as well as the many supporting laborers, of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway would repair and rebuild the steam driven locomotives and railcars. From the 1900’s to the end of the steam era in the 1950’s, up to forty locomotives a month were worked on in what was known as the backshops. These mammoth buildings still dominate the Barelas neighborhood south of downtown along Second Street. This complex of buildings housed the many trades necessary to keep the trains running. Among these trades the Boilermaker was one of the most important, well paid positions. After all, if they didn’t do their job right they would literally blow it.