O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 29

INTELLECTUAL
ROBERT WALSH
History
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, there was once
a company named Flour City Ornamental
Ironwork (Flour City). This company was
founded in 1893 by Eugene Tetzlaff.
In its early years, Flour City produced classical ornamental ironwork. Then, when classical
ironwork was fading in popularity and art deco
was the new rage, Flour City shifted its focus.
The new focus became the skyscrapers being
built across America. Custom art deco, bronze
and/or stainless steel retracting elevator cab
doors from Flour City can be found in skyscrapers all over America.
Along with the retracting elevator doors
came aluminum products. Two of the aluminum
products were "curtain walls" which covered
the exteriors of I-beam constructed skyscrapers and a line of boats titled Alumacraft.
There is a lot of Minneapolis history that
includes Flour City, including a violent union
strike in which two people were killed. You
might be wondering why I'm writing about
Flour City Ornamental Ironwork.
Intellectual Ironwork
You may have read in the past, ironwork from
the Baroque period (1700s) was described as
being "intellectual ironwork." Baroque ironwork, along with the later style, Beaux-Arts
(Neo Classic) was designed to appeal to a viewer's intellect. In-between Baroque and Neo
Classicism was the Rococo period. Rococo was
a complete departure from all previous styles.
Rococo was designed to appeal to a person's
senses and feelings. Baroque and Neo Classic
metalwork are symmetrical and intellectual.
Rococo is, generally, asymmetrical, organic
and sensuous. Rococo laid the groundwork for
the Art Nouveau style, which was yet to come.
Or, you may have read in the past, fine art
paintings from the Baroque era described as

having "layered concepts." Let's look closely
at layered concepts and intellectual ironwork.
In the Baroque era, a fine art painter might
paint a picture with a double meaning. The first
meaning would be literal: what you see is what
it is. For example, a painting depicting two
children playing with a ball on a beach while
their mothers sit in lawn chairs and watch,
can be interpreted as exactly that. Two kids
playing on a beach with their mothers close by.
Or, on a second layer (layered art), the
painting might be completely symbolic. The
two kids could be representing something -
maybe citizens of a country, for example; the
ball may be representing something changing
hands between citizens or countries; and the
two mothers watching may represent larger
entities, political parties or governments. On
this layer, the painting is metaphorical.
Why would a painter layer concepts in a
painting? Possibly to create a political statement without having his to her head or fingers
cut off for rebelling. Or, the artist might have just
wanted to make the painting more interesting.
Starting in the 18th Century, when designing metalwork, the concepts may be multiple,
although not with political agendas. In a similar
vein, when recently talking with a clock-maker,
she said that when repairing a clock from the
18th Century, it is not un-common to find engravings on the back side of the faceplate. This
engraving will never be seen by anyone except
another clock artisan working on the clock. This
can be interpreted as one craftsman, the builder,
communicating with another craftsman, the
repair or restoration person, who in this case
lives in a different century. Pretty cool, right?
Intellectual Ornamental Ironwork
An example of wrought ironwork from the
18th Century, or later periods, could go like
this: the first layer presents the style of the era,

popular in the country in which the metalwork
was made. The literal metalwork interpretation
being, what you see is what it is.
But, when a metalworker takes a closer look
and thinks a little harder, he or she might come
to the second layer - the "wait-a-minute" realization, "how was this achieved?" "Metal does
not work like this?!" Like the engraving on
the backside of a clock face that the original
artist/blacksmith is sending you as a message, as someone knowledgeable with the
process. The message being "figure this out"
and "catch me if you can" (catch up to my skill
level if you can). Intellectual fun if you will.
Why would an artist/blacksmith layer concepts? He or she may or may not do this for a
number of reasons. Some reasons might be:
1) The artist/blacksmith might not have had
any interest in sending a message at all.
Instead, he or she was striving for original
art by using innovative techniques.
2) By producing original art with innovative
techniques, which I suspect were guarded
secrets, the artist/blacksmith put himself
or herself ahead of his or her competitors
in the commercial world.
3) Layering concepts was fashionable, so he
or she simply decided to follow the trend.
4) The artist/blacksmith had mastered the
time-honored techniques and was simply
having some intellectual fun.
Flour City Ornamental Ironwork
The industrial revolution in the 1800s certainly changed the world. Flour City, in the
late 1800s and early 1900s had one foot in the
industrial revolution's cutting edge technology and the other foot still in the old world
ironwork of the 1700s and later.
I live in the Upper Midwest. Three or four
times in my career, I have been involved with
ironwork produced by Flour City. Recently,
May/June 2018 * O&MM Fabricator | 29



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018

President’s Letter
Letter From the Executive Director
NOMMA Network
NOMMA Education Foundation
Preparing for an OSHA Inspection
Intellectual Ironwork
Sealing Loops in Winter/cold Weather
Happy Employees Without the Headaches
Supplier Members
New NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
Gold Members
Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane – Top Job Awards Over the Years
Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Intro
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - bellyband1
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - bellyband2
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - cover1
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - cover2
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 3
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 4
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 5
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 6
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 7
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 8
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 9
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 10
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - President’s Letter
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 12
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Letter From the Executive Director
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 14
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - NOMMA Network
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 16
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 17
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - NOMMA Education Foundation
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 19
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 20
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 21
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Preparing for an OSHA Inspection
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 23
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 24
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 25
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 26
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 27
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Intellectual Ironwork
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 29
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 30
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 31
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Sealing Loops in Winter/cold Weather
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 33
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Happy Employees Without the Headaches
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 35
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 36
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 37
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 38
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Supplier Members
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 40
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - New NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 42
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Gold Members
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane – Top Job Awards Over the Years
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 45
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 46
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 47
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 48
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - 50
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - cover3
O&MM Fabricator - May/June 2018 - cover4
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