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Realizing a Class Struggle Penny Crusher?

February 9, 2012

For several years, I’ve had the idea to create a souvenir penny-crushing machine which would imprint pennies with designs relevant to working class struggles for social justice in Western Pennsylvania’s past. Unfortunately, I’ve hit a number of dead-ends in the process of trying to make this project a reality. In it’s current incarnation, the machine would incorporate an updated, slimmed-down, somewhat mobile design based on that of former Westinghouse engineer Bill Ball, constructed by Stuart Anderson and myself, and incorporating illustrations by Pittsburgh labor history artist and political cartoonist Bill Yund. Although my inclination is to keep the scope of the project regional, I’m open to reinterpretation if it influences the possibility of realizing the finished project. In its ideal state, this machine would be mobile enough to migrate to several museums and other relevant venues. Please get in touch if you have serious funding ideas or other relevant leads!

email me at shaun (at) justseeds (dot) org
(I didn’t design the Indiana Farmers penny above, it’s just an example from my collection)


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6 comments on “Realizing a Class Struggle Penny Crusher?”

It depends on if we built the entire thing ourselves, bought a pre-existing machine, or worked with a company that currently manages these machines in museums, etc (I’ve explored all of these to some degree). The first option is the most expensive, last time we applied for funding (3 years ago) it was for around $3000

Have you considered a Kickstarter fund for this? I bet it would be very popular. I really like the idea a lot and am very curious about that penny from Indiana (where I am from).

That Indiana penny was from a rest stop I think, at least that’s where I usually find these things. I always worry there’s too many Kickstarter projects in the world…

There are tons of Kickstarter campaigns, but it seems to be funding even more things than before. Kickstarter is aware of all the activity and how one could get lost in it and have developed some strategies for helping guide people to things they would like to support. I think your project would do well and is a lot better than so many of the crappy things on Kickstarter at the moment.

I never thought I’d suggest someone to put up a Kickstarter site, but you definitely should. Even if it’s for a bit less than you need, the exposure could potentially lead you to other funding (and I’d definitely chip into this kickstarter!)
I really think that if you were able to get some funds for a crude machine (say one image), it would be easy to get funding to elaborate on the idea.

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