Drop ornament story

A simple and diminutive floral motif by Mesker Brothers Iron Works—referred to only as “ornament no. 800” in Ben’s Bible—is less decorative than most of its brethren, but proved to be more versatile. Majority of Mesker motifs, and classically inspired motifs in general, are either bilaterally symmetrical (mirrored on a central axis) or radially symmetrical … Continue reading

Like father, like sons

Every legacy has its origins and the four Mesker brothers and their respective companies owe their genesis to a certain John Bernard Mesker (1823–1899). John Bernard Mesker was born in Germany on February 22, 1823, and came to America in 1835. Settling in Cincinnati, John trained as a “tinner,” a craftsman who worked with tinplate, … Continue reading

Roswell’s distinguished Mesker buildings

The following is a revised version of an article by Roger Waguespack, published on November 6, 2016 by RDR (Roswell Daily Record) Online. All images are reproduced with the permission of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico. Read the original article here. In the late 1800s and early 1900s many commercial buildings in towns … Continue reading

Ruffini & Mesker, pt. 2—San Angelo

Read Part 1 of this post, covering the Sonora portion of the Ruffini Collection, here. Oscar Ruffini was based in San Angelo, where he reportedly designed over 30 buildings. Therefore, it is not surprising that eight of ten Mesker Brothers’ blueprints in The Ruffini Collection at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission are for … Continue reading

The forgotten brother

Bernard, Frank, and George are the best known of the six Mesker brothers. However, one more brother also made important contributions to the ornamental iron work trade in Evansville and the surrounding region. As Bernard and Frank were establishing a niche for their business in St. Louis, George continued to work for their father in … Continue reading

This 1892 catalogue

In contrast to the numerous patents held by Mesker Brothers (Bernard and Frank), there were no patents found to have been issued to George L. Mesker & Co. But the iron works did apply for at least one. The company’s 1892 catalog featured an ingenious yet simple method of choosing facade designs. The pages showing … Continue reading

Putting on a front

The story of the Stewardson Opera Hall facade disassembly and its subsequent restoration and reinstallation on another building is not a new one, but it remains relevant as it continues to provide insight into patented “house fronts” by Mesker Brothers Iron Works of St. Louis, Missouri. Unlike the original installers, we were not fortunate enough to have … Continue reading

(Not So) Heavy Metal

Product Report:Restoring Historic Metal Facades. The above is link to a new article by Gordon Bock for the Traditional Building Magazine. It profiles two Illinois projects, one being the facade transplant I was fortunate to be involved with a few years ago. The meticulous restoration of Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott Building is also covered. … Continue reading

No. 1800

Last week I received an e-mail from a building owner in Wisconsin, who wanted to let me know about his Mesker facade. Although the order in which I’m cataloging the Meskers is essentially irrelevant—since it is not connected in any way to original dates of construction—it is still nice to arrive at a milestone. Or … Continue reading