The Metal Mailbox Maker Greeting Card by Alvin Lam


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When passing by older residential walk-ups around Hong Kong, it's not difficult to still find weathered yet perfectly functioning metal mailboxes adorning the entrance. These ordinary mailboxes were once ubiquitous in a rapidly growing Hong Kong; today, they have become icons of a bygone era and remnants of a dying craft.

Each of these mailboxes were crafted by hand by metal artisans like Mr. Lai. For 70 years, Mr. Lai fashioned mailboxes and household goods out of galvanized sheet metal, witnessing a massive boom in the metalworking industry in the 1960s and 70s as the population ballooned, and its subsequent decline as the city modernizes.

Mr. Lai continued working alongside his wife till the age of 91, but by early 2022, the time has come for the family to permanently close up shop, marking the end of a remarkable era.

「偶爾經過唐樓和舊式店鋪,閘門外總是掛滿暗紅啞灰的白鐵信箱。 這些平實耐用的信箱, 一搥一打都由白鐵師傅親手打造。自六十年代起,隨著香港人口膨脹更一度需求大增。黎師傅於戰後時期以學徒身份入行,利用白鐵皮打造成各式各樣的日常生活用品。經過了七十多年的歲月,黎師傅親自打理「明記」至九十一歲高齡,與太太於上環東街梯間的工作坊,走過了他敬業樂業的生涯。」

Postcard: 149 x 108 mm
Greeting card: 154 x 110 mm, includes envelope

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The Metal Mailbox Maker Greeting Card by Alvin Lam