Sunday, May 22, 2016

Downton Abbey (England’s Highclere Castle) Jewelry Box


Missing the PBS show, Downton Abbey now that the series is over?  Longing to have a nice place to store all of your diamond, gold and other jewels?  Lord Grantham loves his house and you can too.  A team working for the Queen’s nephew, David Linley, has recreated a wooden miniature replica of Highclere Castle in 10,944 pieces of maple marquetry. Created in a limited edition of just five, the cabinet has 72 square finials are turned on an ornamental lathe which ensures symmetry on each piece. Can’t afford the  £65,000 (close to $100,000)  price?  I wrote previously about some Downton Abby / Highclere Castle souvenir replicas.  I also found a plastic castle that illuminates and nice porcelain ornament and more from PBS.  Also of note, the David Linley company creates Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello as a miniature architectural cigarhumidor.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Oval Base Souvenir Buildings from Germany


Have you noticed some of the older souvenir building replicas made in Germany have distinctive oval bases? The unusual design leads me to believe they were all produced by the same company, but they are unmarked and I have never heard of a name associated with them. Do you know? What I’m going to call, ‘Oval bases’ and are either rounded or pointed at the ends. They are also sometimes ‘forced perspective as they are not fully 3-D, but are condensed somewhat as one would view it from a certain perspective. One replics has the words, “Aschaffenburger Schloss” on the oval base, but it is actually the Castle of Johannisburg, in the town of Aschaffenburg, Germany. Erected between 1605 and 1614 by the architect Georg Ridinger for Johann Schweikhard von Kronberg, Prince Bishop of Mainz. Constructed of red sandstone, the typical building material of the Spessart, the hills near Aschaffenburg. A keep, or fortified tower, from the destroyed 14th-century castle that had formerly stood on the site, was included in the construction and is the oldest part of the castle.












Sunday, May 8, 2016

Identifying “One Wacker Drive” Souvenir Building Chicago



I recently acquired this souvenir building and wanted to learn more about it. In the book, Monumental Miniatures, the replica is called “One Wacker Drive” (plate 64, page 30), but I couldn't find the building, nor information about it, despite hours of research. I had so many questions about the metal souvenir. Was it planned for the World’s fair, but never constructed? Perhaps the design changed and what was built is very different from the souvenir.  The souvenir has on its base the words, “A Century of Progress, Souvenir, Chicago World’s Fair 1933.” An homage to Fort Dearborn is in all four corners of the ground floor. I contacted a number of architectural and historical groups and institutions in Chicago and they had no information. Silly me, I should have gone directly to the source… the author of the aforementioned book, David Weingarten. This would have saved me hours of scouring the Internet for clues. Within minutes of my email, David replied with the answer:  “One Wacker” is, in fact, the One LaSalle Street building.  It felt like a halleluiah moment. The clouds parted and all was revealed. I feared that this souvenir could be generic and not based on a real structure. We now have the answer. However, other questions remain…why was this labeled as a souvenir of the Century of Progress, as it was not built as part of the fairgrounds? The real building was completed around the time of the start of the fair, so could it be celebrating the new building to fair-goers? Also, why the depiction of Chicago’s Fort Dearborn at the base? Not sure… do you know?  David W. has an educated guess and I tend to agree. The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair theme was a 'Century of Progress' to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation. The fair's motto was "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Adapts." Fort Dearborn was built in 1803 and by 1837 it was de-commissioned.  Perhaps, in 1830’s Fort Dearborn was an important landmark for Chicago. Then, a century later in 1930, the One LaSalle Street building was new and demonstrated Chicago’s progress. So, could this souvenir be a combination of the old and new celebrating Chicago’s history over that century? Alternatively, if the fort aspects were originally planned for the base of One North LaSalle Building, we could then put this souvenir of One LaSalle Street in the category of “As Imagined” and not “As Built” just like the St. Josephs Oratory. Or, the combination of the skyscraper and the fort were purely commemorative mash-up. Named One North LaSalle Building or One LaSalle Street Building, The real building is in the financial district of Chicago. It was for some time one of Chicago's tallest buildings. Built in 1930 by architectsKarl Vitzhum and John Burns, the streamlined skyscraper in the Art Deco style has a lavishly detailed entrance and lobby. Paraphrased from “The American Skyscraper,” 1850 – 1940: “A celebration of height, by Joseph Korom "One North LaSalle Street stands squarely in Chicago’s financial district, on the NW corner of LaSalle and Madison, helping to define that famous business corridor. This is a no-nonsense building designed to create profit for its owners, provide its tenants with functional space and impress the public at large with quality architecture. It rises effortlessly to meet the sky while employing telescoping segments. It rises 49 stories and cost $7 million, truly sobering for 1930.”





Sunday, May 1, 2016

Souvenir Building Replicas Other Materials: Wood, Rubber, Soap, Marble, Onyx, Coal


To complete the 14th in a series of posts about different materials used  to produce souvenir buildings, I compiled a list of ‘others.’ These off-beat materials include: Bakelite, Wood, Rubber, Soap, Marble, Onyx, Coal and Macerated Money. I've written before about building souvenirs made of macerated money. Below are some examples and photos. Do you know of other odd materials for building replicas?


Preble County National Bank made of rubber for the 100th anniversary in 1973


Goodyear Blimp Hanger in Akron, Ohio made of ‘Dualuminum'

England’s Durham Cathedral made of coal & the Hawaiian Islands made of lava


Washington Monument made of Bakelite & Bennington Monument made of wood

Rockefeller Center made of hand soap
Equator Monument made of onyx & Washington Monument made of marble    

Sigma Alpha Epsilon's Levere Memorial Temple at Northwestern University made of stone    

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cork Souvenir Buildings & Architectural Models



Cork is harvested from Quercus suber, the Cork Oak tree, which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Cork is composed of suberin, a hydrophobic substance and, because of its impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and fire retardant properties, it is used in a variety of products, the most common of which is wine stoppers. And sometimes, miniature buildings. While researching another post, I discovered the Castle of Johannisburg in Germany has the world’s largest collection of cork architectural models. Entitled, “Bringing Rome across the Alps,” the display consists of 45 models of ancient Rome. These remarkably detailed reproductions were made between 1792 and 1854. They include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the triumphal arches of the emperors Titus, Septimius Severus und Constantine, the Porta Maggiore and the Pyramid of Cestius. The architectural models were made by the court confectioner Carl May (1747-1822) and his son Georg May (1790-1853). The cork material was ideal for imitating the weathered stone surfaces of the centuries-old buildings. The Sir John Soane Museum in London also has cork building models in their collection. Even Thomas Jefferson had at least one cork replica of the great pyramid.






Former Italian postal worker, Ciro Califano, uses wine bottle corks tocreate replicas of ancient wonders like the Roman aqueduct in Nimes, France, the Saracen Tower, and the Church of Monte Albino. Below, is a video of a German artist Dieter Cöllen who has revived a long-forgotten craft of constructing architectural models using cork as the main building material. He's specializes in recreating famous antique monuments such as the Giza pyramids or the Temple of Poseidon in miniature. His models are on display in museums all over the world:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

‘Cold Cast Bronze’ Souvenir Buildings

The technique used for making items in 'cold cast bronze,' involves blending some bronze powder with epoxy resin which is poured into a mould then left to set and harden. Essentially, it’s brown resin polymer, don’t mistake it for bronze metal. Dulipform is one company that produces products and building replicas in cold cast bronze and also some in pewter. Do you know of other cold cast bronze buildings not pictured below?





Sunday, April 17, 2016

Resin Polymer Plastic Souvenir Building Replicas


Might we have been miss-identifying this material for some time? I always thought of the solid plastic molded souvenir buildings as “resin,” but that may not be the proper word. Resin comes from tree sap, while polymers areplastic and are produced from crude oil. The sap of pine and other coniferous trees, often called pitch, is a resin. The materials we call plastics (polystyrene, ABS, acrylics, polyethylene, etc.) are synthetic forms of long-chain polymers derived from (usually) petroleum. Whatever you call them, many miniature souvenir replicas of buildings and monuments are made of solid plastic these days. It’s a cheaper material than any type of metal and then can be sold for a lower price. Personally, I prefer metal replica whether they are new or antique. Below are some examples of plastic building model including Parthenon in Nashville, the Pentagon in Virginia, Stratford Hall in Virginia, and the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. I’ve written before about replicas such as Lucy the elephant, the National Archives bookends, Holocaust Museum and the Astronomers Monument in L.A. During a trip to Europe, I saw many stores in many different countries selling plastic buildings. I won’t ask if you know of other polymer buildings because there are so many.





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