When my trusty lemon squeezer broke, I toyed with the idea of buying a new one, but found that design collaborative Platform 21′s Repair Manifesto (blogged last summer) had lodged itself in my consciousness. “REPAIRING IS A CREATIVE CHALLENGE“…and “TO REPAIR IS TO DISCOVER” subtly resonated. There’s a way to fix this, I thought, as I wandered around my apartment looking for a sturdy piece of metal to hinge the two enameled sides together; it would have to withstand the pressure of squeezing a lemon, and not react to acidic lemon juice.
The process was a simple one, really, once I finally focused on it (the broken squeezer sat on the counter for a couple of weeks while I mulled): I’d ask myself “What if I tried THIS? and then I tried the idea out, fiddled, failed a few times: a heavy-duty paper clip couldn’t take the pressure…I had no nut to secure a screw, which I suspected would rust anyway…Wire was reactive and would keep the hinge from moving properly. I found the solution in my office.
Why not try a U-shaped metal flange from a big binder clip? It slipped out of its housing easily; I used a needle nose pliers to bend one end straight enough to fit through the squeezer’s hinge holes… Then a search for something to keep it from falling out: I found a metal washer in my collection of screws, nails and bits-and-pieces; it was just the right size to clamp the ends of the metal together. The lemon squeezer works fine now and has an oddly appealing look.
The day I fixed the lemon squeezer, Platform 21 sent an email announcing that they were closing their doors, “unable to find the financial means to proceed”… We’ve heard that sad story a lot of late.
But what they did was GREAT and valuable. They helped forge a mindset that is alive in many people today, and can be referenced by many more on their website, which will remain. Platform 21 tried stuff, and broke new ground. Where would we be without THAT?
So this post, and the lemon squeezer repair, is dedicated to Platform 21, with gratitude.
(A book about Platform 21 is in the making, and will be published in June 2010.)