Thursday, October 18, 2018

Halloween Pumpkin Pour

Halloween pumpkins by Jeanne Selep
Molten iron pours from pumpkin to pumpkin
Halloween inspires many unique activities across the United States, and one of my current favorites is the Pumpkin Pour at the University of Wisconsin Platteville.

Halloween Pumpkin Pour UW Platteville
Pumpkin Pour - Molten Iron from 5 pumpkins cascade into 5 pumpkins below
The University has an Industrial Studies program and an AFS (American Foundry Society) club, which runs the event as a fund raiser.
Halloween Pumpkin Pour UW Platteville
Pumpkin Pour - Molten Iron cascades through 4 pumpkins

The AFS club fires up a metal melting "cupola" that melts iron at over 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and among other things, pours the molten metal into carved pumpkins for visual fireworks.

Halloween Pumpkin Pour by Jeanne Selep
A 4 pumpkin cascade sparks like fireworks
Sparks fly as added water and other chemicals respond to the molten iron, effectively mixing pumpkins with fireworks.

UW Platteville Pumpkin Pour
Molten iron splashes as well!
I took these photos at Platteville's 5th annual pumpkin pour in October of 2017.

Halloween Pumpkin Pour by Jeanne Selep
A Pumpkin drools molten iron
I hope to be at the pumpkin pour in 2018. 

Halloween Pumpkin Pour by Jeanne Selep
Molten iron pours from pumpkin to pumpkin

Halloween Pumpkin Pour UW Platteville
After glow - and molten iron puddles
Glowing pumpkins seem to be the essence of contemporary American Halloween for me.  

Halloween Pumpkin Iron Pour UW Platteville
Molten iron gives pumpkins an amazing glow
For the fundraising portion of the night, the club charges interested visitors $5 each for an iron pumpkin created while the visitors watch.  For $5 a visitor is given a sand cast pumpkin mold, which visitors then carve their unique designs into.

Molten iron metal pouring into molds
Molten iron pouring into pumpkin molds
AFS members then pour the molten iron into the pumpkin molds while the visitors wait.  Once the cast iron pumpkins cool down, the visitors collect their one-of-a-kind creation.

UW Platteville Pumpkin Pour
Iron Pumpkin creations from the event
Above are some of the resulting cast iron pumpkins my family went home with.  See the pumpkin pie?

Waupaca Cupola UW Platteville Pumpkin Pour
UW Platteville Pumpkin Pour

The above photo shows the "cupola" from Waupaca Foundries that melts the molten iron in the background, and iron being poured into pumpkin molds in the foreground.

Halloween Pumpkin by Jeanne Selep
Iron pools while a pumpkin glares after a "Pumpkin Pour".
The photographer in me loves the visuals from this event.

Waupaca Pumpking at UW Platteville Pumpkin Pour
The UW Platteville Pumpkin Pour is supported by Waupaca, logo on pumpkin above

The American midwest is the kind of place you can find colleges and manufacturing companies that support odd events like the Pumpkin Pour.  Thanks to Waupaca Foundry, Neenah Foundry, and of course the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.  Learning complicated manufacturing processes can be fun!  Apparently there are multiple foundry events around the country at different times, let me know in the comment section if you have ever been to one and where it was.

Here is a 38 second video from the 2017 Platteville Pumpkin Pour where I took the photos in this post. It's worth the 38 seconds it takes to watch it!

Click on the images to see them enlarged.
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