They are a feature whose sole intention is to solicit breathless gasps from your guests who arrive and depart in the absolute darkness. The columns, you see, are invisible in the total darkness. There is only the light splayed through the grid pattern, and the small throws of light escaping through the weep holes in the cap to be thrown against the underside of the cap overhang. A stunning feature that will, in the event of stalled dinner conversations, rescue you with the aplomb of a proud offspring.

* So who designed it? You?

With a handful of exceptions that are duly noted and credited, the products are all original designs created by Ben and Charles. With products such as the columns, there are prototypes and then paying  commissions and with each commission, there continues to be new developments and improvements. The design process is linked inexorably with the methodology of its construction, and yet always an eye toward the field, the ease of installation.  There is no delineating specific credit between Charles and Ben. What would be the point?  There’s a thrill of making one’s way into the shop every day for decades and decades, puttering, absorbed, occupying oneself with the culminating process of creating tangible entities and all to the wafting backgrounds of a familiar opera that helps, in some Pavlovian effect, to disassociate the woodworker from the distractions of everyday life outside the shop how the last thought that would ever come to mind is who gets credit for what. Am I making sense?

* Maybe. You sound troubled. Was it Rainbow who upset you?

Upset?  I’m not upset, per say. Other than I spent most of my round on the golf course this morning pretending to be an Indian scout, foraging in the woods and wading through water hazards while the rest of my foursome chatted and laughed within the civilized scenery of a groomed fairway. I arrived onto each green as a host to crawling insects, scratches, bruises, and an assortment of limbs caught to the cuff of my muddy trousers. No part of my game residing on the fairways but the sound of my grunting expletives penetrating the canopy to reach the groomed cut like a detestable limp. A detestable limp.

*So you play golf while Ben works. . .

Is this you again Number 6? Are you back? You keep breaking the rules. One question per visitor. Don’t you have anything else to do but break my rules?  I suppose Rainbow is with you?

* It’s Number 4, not 6, and so what if it is m.? And yes, Rainbow’s with me now. We’re an item, as they say. A couple. And we’ve formed a new company, together. We’ve been in line long enough to do that. We’ll be stealing everything of yours and calling it our own. It’s legal. We checked with a lawyer. 

A lawyer?

* Well, actually. . . I’m a lawyer.

.Well Number 4, you won’t be the first. There are innumerable knock-off efforts, scattered everywhere. Far more knock-offs out there now than there are Prowell originals. It reminds me of the Union Army.

* Union Army?

The Union Army was this procession, this traveling cornucopia, followed everywhere they marched by a veritable city of parasites, of prostitutes and vendors and scavengers, the prostitutes who infected the soldiers with disease and the vendors who sold medicines and supplies to the army at exaggerated prices and the scavengers who scoured the battlefields on the morning after a battle, collecting boots and belts and anything of value from the dead bodies, selling it all back to the vendors who sold it back to the same traveling battalions. A true trickle-down economy. Because there was simply no way to stop this practice–the Union soldiers too exhausted from the day’s fighting to parole the battlefield and guard the dead–it continued throughout the duration of the war. Anyway, one thing you cannot replicate is Sir Teddy.

* Sir Teddy? 

Our once bubbling Mascot, whose photo still adorns the bottom of this page. His cuteness factor was beyond reproach. You cannot replicate him. You cannot bribe him. He’s dead. Immortalized.