Don Tassone- a model maker in the traditional sense of the word, sculpting jewelry, souvenirs, miniatures in “HO” and “O” scale for model train kits- all entirely by hand. Working in wax, clay or pewter, Don uses centrifugal casting and rubber molding to produce his items.
Due to the relatively inexpensive cost of tin (the metal in pewter), pewter model makers approach the trade differently from wax sculptors. When one sculpts in white metal (yet another term for pewter), it HAS to look good because if it doesn't, all you have to show is a hunk of tin.
Don lives in Providence, Rhode Island, which for generations was the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry and pewter products in the world. Although most white metal products are now being manufactured overseas, there is an increasing demand for domestically made pewter items. But pewter model makers in America are becoming increasingly rare and it is unfortunate that another skilled trade is slipping away. Where there once were huge model rooms in sprawling factories, now there are very few "tin men" left and virtually no apprentices.