St. Louis became the world’s largest manufacturer of ornamental facades made of galvanized sheet iron. This type of metalwork was dominated by Mesker & Brother (Bernard and Frank Mesker). The technique, following traditional repousse, created ornamental designs in relief by hammering malleable metal from the reverse side. The Meskers produced monumental works of architecture in classical designs using large mechanical presses developed during the Industrial Revolution. Today more than 3,400 Mesker facades (most installed on commercial buildings) have been identified in some 1,400 American towns. The Foundation owns numerous examples in both ferrous and non ferrous metals, including a complete cornice from the former Gaslight Square in St. Louis.
Essays on Architectural Sheet Metal