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

Embossed scroll G

Many of the ornament motifs that were used by Mesker Brothers Iron Works for their metal facades are very distinctive, instantly betraying their maker without the need of any other identifying marks. Others are less obviously original and more typical of the era and work of other manufacturers. However, no matter how common they may … Continue reading

Dear Sir:

The immense catalog printing and distribution of the Mesker companies and especially of Mesker Brothers Iron Works is well recognized as a linchpin of their success. But what other marketing was used? How did they know who to send the catalogs to? Who and where was their competition? Were their prices competitive? A recent eBay … 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 little catalog that could

Good things come in small packages. The cliche applies to many things but definitely to a diminutive, four-page supplemental insert to the 1903 catalog of George L. Mesker & Co. Both the catalog (46 pages) and the insert were recently auctioned off on Ebay. Fortunately, they were rescued from obscurity by friend and historian Dennis … Continue reading

Ruffini & Mesker, pt. 1—Sonora

Oscar Ruffini (1858-1957) was an architect based in San Angelo, Texas. He designed a variety of buildings in San Angelo and West Texas including courthouses, commercial and public buildings, residences, and churches. His older brother, Frederick Ernst Ruffini (1851-1885), was also a prolific architect who from his Austin office designed many buildings throughout Texas. The … Continue reading