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Uphill Both Ways

Volume 9 - Boston 1956



Air brush the lath wall with bluish and whitish pigments to create the illusion of dimensionless space so that Kronosaurus would appear to be simply floating in space.

All of those features -and others that I don’t know, I expect- were combined to produce the most novel dinosaur mounting technique that had ever been done. I expect you can see the underlying principle yourself but I want to emphasize it:

The essence of this method is burying the metal supports inside the bones.

That’s it in a nutshell. So simple, of course, why didn’t someone do that already! Every one who ever mounted a dinosaur wished s/he didn’t have to use those unsightly external straps and bands and supports and wires but was incapable of doing anything about it.

Here’s the corollary: in addition to understanding dinosaur bones and their articulation, the mounter had to be:

An artist A welder, and A machinist

That disqualifies every paleontologist in the world but that is, in fact, the job description that qualified dad -and anyone else who is going to reach the levels of sophistication he did- to do these exquisite dinosaur mounts.[1]

1Near the end of his life, looking back across the jobs he had and the continents he worked in, the view he took of himself distilled into a simple phrase that I don’t think is fair or accurate, but it encapsulates his view of himself: “I guess I was just an adventurer.” Fascinating comment, which was driven at least in part by the fact that he felt that he didn’t receive recognition for contributions he had made. He didn’t articulate any reasons for that conclusion, but I enter it here because I do know that he felt undervalued, under-appreciated, and this particular contribution should be memorialized and studied. Every recent dino mount I’ve seen shows the influence of his technique. You have to go back to 1950 to get it, however, because the changes were not linked to him, nor were they immediate. But the 1950's style was wooden, external, etc. He was a genius in developing this method. What I find interesting is just how complete the conception was in kronosaurus. This was the first time he’d mounted a dinosaur, but he didn’t take just baby-steps. He jumped into a new universe of mounting techniques, setting the bar high for those who followed.

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