Cornice gallery

On Father’s Day, I took a quick jaunt from Beloit to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, to photograph the numerous—thirteen to be exact—surviving galvanized sheet-metal cornices made by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Just cornices. No full fronts, window hoods, or storefront columns, which also means there are no maker’s marks to inform the onlookers about their provenance. I … Continue reading

There’s no point in hiding

In documenting historic buildings, Mesker and non alike, we always look for manufacturer identifications and original building owner names. To discover them is always exciting but since they are essentially signs, the only uncertainty lies in whether they survive and not whether they were intended to be seen. There are, however, other labels and inscriptions … Continue reading

Seashell from Amboise

Abstracted and stylized floral designs and patterns dominated the design vocabulary of both Mesker companies, and American architectural ornamentation during the Victorian period in general. Nonetheless, a few aquatic-related ornaments also found their way onto Mesker fronts, as was the case with the “dolphin panel.” Another such motif was a seashell. Like the dolphin, the … Continue reading