Manufacture the Stamp - File photo
CAIRO – 30 May 2017: The handicraft of manufacturing brass stamps was one day a prosperous industry when they were widely used. Very few skilled craftsmen are still involved in such craft that they learned from their ancestors.
Emad el-Khatam, 54, is the only person doing that craft that is going instinct in Ismailia. He works in a very small kiosk located in front of the Old Court, and consisting of a very small table, a small chair, and a fan. He has been based there for 40 years as he started
work at the age of eight years old.
To manufacture the stamp, a pen of steel is used to carve the name on copper fixed on a wooden surface. The pen often slips and wounds the hand of the craftsman whose hands bear many scars due to that.
Khatam stressed upon the importance of learning such craft since childhood, as it is very difficult to acquire such skill in adulthood.
He explained that the industry has not gone obsolete so far, as brass stamps are used by the disabled and the illiterate to sign official papers. Those stamps are considered credible signatures as they cannot be replicated.
Khatem said that the maximum number of stamps he produces per day is 10. He added that the 1960s was a prosperous age for the industry as the state was issuing cards of identity to all citizens so many had to get a stamp to sign the papers as the illiteracy rate was high.
At that time the stamp would cost two piasters, but that enabled Khatem’s father to make a fortune he used to build a house for the entire family.
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