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Handmade aluminium cookware: Unprotected job to uphold heritage - Daily News Egypt

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Handmade aluminium cookware: Unprotected job to uphold heritage

  Almost every item people use in their daily lives, from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep, is usually produced electronically as technology has become an essential part of manufacturing. But aluminium cooking pots have remained as a large part of heritage that is not electronically manufactured. In small factories, workers stand …



 

Almost every item people use in their daily lives, from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep, is usually produced electronically as technology has become an essential part of manufacturing. But aluminium cooking pots have remained as a large part of heritage that is not electronically manufactured.

In small factories, workers stand for hours in front of large ovens at high temperatures, and risk losing a limbs or getting fourth-degree burns. They shape crude aluminium sheets into different shapes and sizes to make aluminium cooking pots, which are among the very few remaining handmade products.

Until now, even after many other types of cooking-ware have become more common, aluminium pots are widely used in Egypt, especially among the middle-class.

For the workers, it is a job they inherit from their families, just like fishing and pottery, but is considered one of the most dangerous jobs.  The temperatures workers face might exceed 80 degrees Celsius and factories are not well built to tolerate the fire. The heat leads to many accidents and workers are prone to lose their lives, or live with permanent disabilities. Many workers do not have any health insurance.

To create the final circular shape of the pot, aluminium must be melted for a while and then shaped with certain equipment to create it and then weld it with other parts for the handles.

With all of the daily risks workers face to have a fine output that can be used for cooking, aluminium cooking pots are considered one Egypt’s traditions.

 

Photos by Mohamed Omar

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