Sunday, July 31, 2016

Markle Bank Building in Hazleton, Pa.

This metal coin bank represents the Markle Bank Building and is made by American Art Works. The base has the words, “Markle Bank, Member Federal Reserve, Save on Pay Day.”  Originally known as the Markle Banking & Trust Company Building, later the Northeastern Bank Building, and today, the Hayden Tower at the Markle stands in Downtown Hazleton, Pennsylvania at Broad and Wyoming streets. Built in 1910, the 11-story commercial building has 3 bays wide and 7 bays deep, with a 6-story addition in the Classical Revival style. It is constructed of reinforced concrete with a limestone and white brink facing. A six-story addition was added to the east of the original building in 1923. The structure was deemed unsafe in 1998 and closed, but then saved from the wrecking ball in 2001 by local businessman George F. Hayden. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. Here are some great vintage photos of the building over the years.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Metal German TV & Radio Tower Replicas

Most metal souvenir buildings are created either by pouring molten metal into a mold or they are die cast. But not all are produced this way. Most of us have seen these various TV and Radio tower replicas from Germany and I’ve always wondered how and why they were made because they seemed different than other souvenir towers. Although there must be hundreds made representing various towers around Germany, they don’t seem to be mass-produced for tourists. To me, they are clearly carved on a lathe in a machine shop using a solid blank of aluminum or brass metal. Many collectors believe they were crafted by German metal smith students honing their craft and now I’ve found proof. In the photo, below, the caption reads, "German chancellor Angela Merkel receives an aluminum model of the Berlin TV tower from the trainee Ricardo Krille during her visit at the Siemens trainee center in the machining department in Berlin, Germany, 7 May 2012. Trainees produce the miniature in a project which includes school and practical work.”
   A German resident also commented in a story about the towers on the website, Apartment Therapy, writing, “…these models are "Gesellenst├╝cke" from people who learn to be a machinist. You have to learn for three years and at the end there is a theoretical and a practical test the "Gesellenpr├╝fung" When you've done everything alright in that test, you are a “Handwerkergeselle.” There you have it – evidence of what some suspected for years. Now, you ask…why does Germany have so many towers like this around their country? Way before cable and the internet, TV and radio stations would broadcast their programs via airwaves emitting their signal from antennae atop these gigantic TV Towers, called Fernsehturm or Fernmeldeturm in German. The German towers tend to have lots of layers or 'shelves’ to support communication equipment.   Throughout Germany there are seventy-seven or so such towers, six of which offer folks the chance to climb high above the ground to their observation decks. Born from practical reasons, many towers have now become iconic structures in their respective cities. So, Why do most major German cities have large TV towers, while you don’t see these structures in the rest or Europe or in the U.S.? This link has an interesting guess. North America does have towers which we also use for communication and the most notable examples are the Seattle Space needle and Toronto’s CN Tower. Other tall buildings including the Willis Tower in Chicago and World Trade Center in NYC have antennae on top, which eliminates the need for separate towers dedicated to communication.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Great Mosque of Samarra’s Malwiya Minaret

Many people mistakenly identify this building as the Tower of Babel, which looks much different.  Others call is the Great Mosque of Samarra, which is closer, but still not 100% true. The true name is the Malwiya Minaret, which was part of what was the Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq. Microsocms made metal replicas in a gold finish in the 1990’s and then later made solid bronze versions on a marble base.  A few places sell plastic / resin replicas.  Radafian bank also made a metal coin bank version. A spiraling conical design rising 52 meters high, the minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra is the most prominent structure remaining of a mosque that was once the largest in the world. Called the
‘malwiya’ or the snail shell minaret, this 180-foot tower was the main focal point of the mosque, which covered 42 acres at its peak. The minaret was originally connected to the mosque by a bridge. In the mid-9th century, the great work was commissioned by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil who allegedly rode a white donkey up the spiraling paths to the top. Constructed of sandstons between 848 – 852, it is because of its ascending spiral conical design. The word "malwiya" translates as "twisted" or "snail shell" and was used for the call to prayer. Over time, the mosque was slowly destroyed and fell into disuse by the 11th century after the Hulagu Khan invasion of Iraq. Only the outer wall and its minaret remain.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Golden Gate Bridge Replica in Bangkok Mall

Did you know there is a large replica (difficult to call this a miniature) of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in the Terminal 21 Mall in Bangkok, Thailand? Terminal 21 is an airport-themed shopping mall with each floor assigned to a different city around the world. Starting with a Caribbean-themed basement, Floor 1 is Tokyo, and Floor 2 features London. You can ‘visit’ Istanbul, the luxury stores of Rome and Paris or the streets of San Francisco with a red Golden Gate Bridge spanning the central atrium. I’ve written before about a large replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee and cities in China being built to resemble other famous cities.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Building Collector is on Instagram

Building Collector is now on Instagram!  
I've been sharing lots of photos of rare buildings, 
so check it out on the mobile device app:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Building Souvenir Replica Lighter

Big thanks to my friend, Seiichiro, who was able to identify this replica as the Tokyo MetropolitanPolice Department Headquarters. There are no words, nor identification on the replica itself, which made it difficult to locate. The metal souvenir includes a lighter and helicopter-pad roof lid that, when removed, reveals a small storage box. This main building of the Keishicho is located in the Kasumigaseki part of central Tokyo just a block from the National Diet building. Constructed in 1980, it is 18 stories tall and is in the shape of a large wedge with a cylindrical tower. The Metropolitan Police, with a staff of more than 43,000 police officers and over 2,800 civilian personnel, manages 102 stations in the prefecture.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Art Ratner’s Miniature Souvenir Building Collection

I recently discovered this story about souvenir building collector Art Ratner on a website called QuirkyBerkeley. From the website, “In 1984, he began to collect miniature souvenir buildings.  You see what happened was – as a nine-year-old boy, he lost a miniature Statue of Liberty somewhere between acquisition and getting home from a special outing with his mother to Liberty Island.” The article has lots of great photos of his collection.
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