The Heart of It All (or at least 129 Meskers)

The 100-Mesker club has a new member—Ohio. Perhaps not so new, as the 100 mark was reached some time ago, but additional Ohio discoveries just kept coming, preventing this write up from appearing sooner. Historically, Ohioans purchased a not insignificant amount of Mesker products, ranking 13th nationwide with a combined estimate of approximately 1,230 facades. … Continue reading

Wrought iron sash originators

To meet growing customer demand for fire-retardant products, in the early 1900s Mesker Brothers Iron Works began to offer fireproof hollow metal windows. In the early 1910s, the product line was extended to include solid section steel industrial sash and casements although the windows remained a minor component among a myriad of still primarily galvanized … Continue reading

Mighty in Michigan

There are a lot of Mesker fronts in the Midwest. The latest proof is Michigan, now officially with over 100 identified Meskers. Historically, Michiganders purchased quite a few Mesker products, ranking 15th nationwide with a combined estimate of approximately 1,041 facades. Fronts supplied by Mesker Brothers Iron Works netted a total of $44,739.16 in receipts … Continue reading

“Pedlarized”

The evidence of Mesker storefronts’ enormous popularity is that they were widely imitated. Thanks to the Association for Preservation Technology’s Building Technology Heritage Library, an impressive and ever expanding online collection of building trade catalogs, another Mesker imposter has been identified. The 1911 and 1914 catalogs of the Pedlar People, Limited of Oshawa, Canada, show … Continue reading

Ben’s Bible

“Away in the distant future When backwards you turn your thoughts Remember the Office of Mesker & Bro. And its merry associates” —T.A. Myers, Ben’s Bible, February 1, 1891 There is only one Bible with a capital B, though many disciplines and interests have their own versions of authoritative text that are the bibles of … Continue reading

Discoveries in the Old North State

The 100-Mesker club has a new member— North Carolina. Historically, North Carolinians purchased a not insignificant amount of Mesker products, ranking 14th nationwide with a combined estimate of approximately 1,100 facades. Fronts supplied by Mesker Brothers Iron Works netted a total of $96,977.93 in receipts between 1885 and 1908 for approximately 608 facades. Mesker’s best … 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

100+ Meskers found in New Mexico

When we document 100 Mesker facades in a state, we celebrate it. It’s an arbitrary milestone that has little to do with the historic number of installations but it’s been a tradition on these here pages for some time. Thanks largely to Roger Waguespack’s research efforts, New Mexico is the latest state to join the … 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

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