Bryant Stove opens junkyard to creative town residents

Owner envisions coffee tables, magazine racks, lamps and works of art
By Ethan Andrews | Nov 07, 2018
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Diana Prizio inspects a stove base at Bryant Stove Works. The Thorndike business is offering residents a chance to make something creative out of a piece from its junkyard.

Thorndike — Ever wanted to make a coffee table out of a cast-iron stove base, a magazine rack from a firebox, or a sculpture from odd cast-iron parts? If you live in Thorndike, now's your chance.

Bryant Stove Works, the village business of Bea and Joe Bryant, known for its museum of musical instruments and homemade kinetic toy sculptures, is opening its junkyard to creative pickers.

Bea Bryant opened the business in Knox in the 1960s to supplement income from her husband's business, Bryant Steel. She relocated to Thorndike Village in in the 1980s. Now, at age 88, she said she wanted to do something special for the town for its bicentennial in 2019.

Bryant already has made a display with ideas of what can be done. A corner of the store is given over to end tables built with stove legs, grates repurposed as magazine racks, and lamps made from andirons. But she was coy about who thought to invite the whole town to the party.

"T'wasn't me," she said.

Diana Prizio, who has been helping to organize the project, said the concept was a combination of ideas from town residents, including Zoey Bond, Doug Nye and herself.

The origin of the junkyard — a meadow behind the store, grown tall around the rusty protrusions of several hundred cast iron parts — is less of a mystery.

"I moved here in '82," Bryant said. "The junkyard started going in then. I had acres of it over to the farm before it came here."

As with any good giveaway, some conditions apply.

Certain valuable parts, including domes, urns and decorative finials, aren't for the picking. Neither are some of the especially ornate stove bases.

Bryant asked that anyone interested in picking out a piece should stop into the store first and get the all-clear before they leave.

Most importantly, Bryant said, the finished products must come back to Bryant Stove next year, temporarily, for a bicentennial show and contest.

"Then they're theirs to keep," she said. "But we don't want them selling them."

Thorndike residents are invited to take a piece from this junkyard behind Bryant Stove Works to make something creative for the town's bicentennial in 2019. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Bryant Stove Works owner Bea Bryant shows mirror frames and other household items made from the cast iron stove parts that are abundant at the long-running Thorndike business. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
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