Architects Draft Brush

If you have every wondered why Architects of a certain age stereotypically wear bow ties; the reason is simple practicality, not sartorial elegance. Before working with a computer screen and a mouse, Architects spent hours hunched over a drafting board putting pencil to paper. Those Architects who wore normal ties were forced to either invest in a tie clip and look like a 1950’s accountant or throw their tie over their shoulder like a World War One flying ace.
Part of drafting, prior to the undo button, was erasing which created large deposits of rubber and paper debris. To clear one’s drawings, all Architects kept a drafting brush to hand. My heirloom is my Grandfather’s drafting brush. Dating from the 1950’s or 1960’s, it was manufactured by the German firm of Dietzgen from 100% sterilized horse hair. The brush also features the letters “BE” carved into the timber frame. These are the first two letters in his surname, Berry. The rest of the letters have been rubbed away with time.
When I started architecture school, my Grandfather passed on his drafting tools to me. While a majority of the tools were of sentimental value only, the brush proved its usefulness over three years of graduate school and seven years of drafting before my board was replaced with a 21” monitor.
The brush has now found a third life for itself. Despite my best efforts to keep it hidden away in my man drawer, my young daughters are convinced it is really a crumb brush and should, like in a fancy restaurant, be used to clean the table between dinner and dessert.

Philip Keller