While this blog is dedicated to the appreciation of contributions made by the Mesker companies of St. Louis and Evansville in shaping the development of small downtowns across America, to ignore the countless other foundries and iron works would paint an incomplete picture of the era. In fact, Mesker storefront components are only a tiny fraction of thousands of commercial buildings with various decorative (and structural) metal components. As an output of these family-operated businesses, their impact is astounding. But there were many others. Despite the fact that there’s very little information available about most of these companies, they deserve the same scholarly research, documentation, preservation, restoration, and appreciation.
Time and space do not permit me to undertake extensive research regarding these other companies, though I am very interested in Meskers’ major competitors, who I will occasionally highlight in posts. I don’t know what format this page will assume in the future, but for now, together with Roger Waguespack of Austin, TX, we’re maintaining a spreadsheet of known iron works from across the country, with state identification of extant examples. The selection is limited to manufacturers that produced exterior facade and storefront components (cast iron columns, sheet-metal cornices and window hoods, etc.). Manufacturers of exclusively metal ceilings are not included. The spreadsheet is regularly updated by Roger. You can contact him regarding any additions or corrections at firstname.lastname@example.org