Culture of Repair


We were just back from our holidays in South Tyrol, the day before yesterday we visited the book-store “Buchladen Lana”, there we bought some souvenirs for the family. In contrast to our usual purchases at Amazon it was a nice ambient and we could take time to get some inspirations and for the look and “feel” of the books. First I didn’t want to buy this interesting book, but then there was quite a long que before the check out and I turned around and took it with me – for under 10€ – a lucky stroke as it turned out.

Die Kultur der Reparatur” – The Culture of Repair is written by Wolfgang M. Heckl , he is the general manager of the “Deutsches Museum München” one of the most beautiful technical museums I know – and an amateur repairer with his full heart ..

I already mentioned the new movement of repair-coffe’s in former German Blog 2012. But this book is more than that, it’s also a philosophy of repairing, understanding and maintaining things – it speaks directly to my soul. You can get a lot of inspiration and self-affirmation out of repairing ordinary things instead of simply throwing them away and buy new ones.

As a young boy I rarely found the way to the kinder garden, the short way to it was full of distractions, interesting stones and screws and other things, coming home my shorts were most times heavy loaded with my findings.

While going to school the most part of my free time I played on the junk yard of my fathers car repair station, no one had time to explain something, so I had to find out the most things by my own. Later I made an apprentice-ship to a car-electrician and because I wanted to learn more I studied Electronics. My self-made tandem-bike, my first motor-bike and even my first car were very old and you had to repair a lot to bring them to work. My first detector-radio, multivibrators and light-organ .. old tube-radios with magic-eyes .. I still have a lot of emotions to that little success stories.

My father and I never talked too much with each other, but when we did something together, when we fixed things and repaired some tricky faults on cars , we were really together and understood each others without a lot of words – I never forget the look in each others eyes and our smiling after we solved really difficult repairs.

Even my children have got some repair-genes. As a pre-school-girl my daughter had a lot of fun to dis-assemble defect devices and to look what’s behind them.

I remember how my son and I changed the whole motor of my sons car, it was an Opel-Corsa, with my late father as an advisor and he helped us at some critical points,too – still very emotional when I think about it. We needed about 4 days, to put the spare-motor out of a junk-yard-car to put the defect motor out of the Corsa and to build in the replacement and brought it to life – WOW ! OK – we needed 2 other weekends to disable the electronic immobilizer, a fault caused by the uncompatibel motor-control-unit – but we solved it together with other friends ..

On the photo below you see some Trophies which were on my desk since a few years. The red nut is a finding from a field-way in the near, if I look at it I can imagine the red McCormick tractor, which probably loose this part.

The 3 parts of screws are from my former Opel-Omega exhaust. The screws were broken and stuck in an aluminium cylinder head, the exhaust was leaking. I drilled in some holes, where I tried severals tools like “left-twist” and “allen-keys” to get the rest of the screws out. With the advice of my brother an auto-mechanic-master and business-owner I finally achieved the even for experts very difficult task, while the motor was still in the car – more exciting than a thousand crime-novels !!


Die Kultur der Reparatur” gave me another kick to continue my free-time-repair-adventures, I had a lot of projects and still a lot of ideas and devices in my cellar … let’s make the world a better place 🙂

Did I mention that I bought this spring a first old type-writer at Ebay ? A DDR-Erika type-writer from 1959 it was defect and below 10€, I repaired it and made some photos, the next is already under my bed, a type-writer from 1940 – in parts – like a puzzle – it’s cool to buy cheap defect devices and to repair them. The film “The Shadow dancer” ( Liebe lieber Italienisch 2005) inspired me to buy a type-writer, in comparison to a PC-keyboard it’s another more sensual feeling to write, you have to think more what you write, corrections are not so easy..

The reason why I currently do not write a lot in my Blogs – the last months we are renovating our 150 year old house in our free time, one flat of it, a kind of repair, too …

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