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About a drótostót

Inside and outside of the wired bowl

About a drótostót

Tima Dora Irma

Until World War II and a short time after, a few traveling self-employed men existed in Hungary.  One of those was the drótostót (tinker).

They were from Northern Hungary, from Árva, and Trencsény County.  Even from their names one can deduce their origin and occupation.  Drótos (wire) means that with fine wire they made a net over a broken piece of pottery; tót is their origin (Slovak, an ethnic group in Hungary), although some drótos were Gypsies.

They walked the streets, carrying in their bag all their tools and hollering “Van-e valami drótoznyi, fótoznyi való?”  (Is there anything broken to fix or patch?)

The work wasn’t too hygienic, the holes on the enamel pots they patched with a piece of aluminum.  In the middle of the patch was a nitt szög (rivet) that they pushed over the hole of the pot.  A piece of dough was used as a sealer; they flattened the nail on the other side with a small hammer.  Anything could have attached itself to the dough, making it not very safe, but the hole was covered. 

At the time, much pottery was used in the households for cooking.  Mostly it was used in ovens and brick ovens, but they cracked from the heat.  Due to poverty, housewives were forced to have the pots and mugs wired; there was no money to replace them.

Mothers also used to scare their children if they did not behave – be good, or the drótostót will take you.

Soon after the war, for reasons unknown, they disappeared from the country.

Tima Dora Irma is a retired school principal, lives in Hungary


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