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

2,000th town with Meskers—Tuscumbia, Alabama

At least 2,000 communities in North America have or had Mesker facades. How’s that for impact? It took nearly six years to discover and document the last 1,000 communities, but the latest with at least one confirmed (extant or extinct) Mesker is Tuscumbia, AL. The brick front at 116 S. Main St, featuring cast iron … 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

Side by side

On a recent trip to Galena, Illinois, I had the pleasure to once again observe the J.G. Schmohl Building with its superb galvanized sheet-metal front (two actually) by Mesker Brothers Iron Works, as well as the adjacent building with cast iron columns by George L. Mesker & Co. Seeing the work of the brothers side-by-side … 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