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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Buy Souvenir Building Replica of New Bedford Whaling Museum

Did you know a pewter souvenir building of the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Bourne Building is available from their online gift shop

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pewter Souvenir Building Replicas

Pewter has been around since the Roman Empire and used to create chalices, patens and spoons for ceremonial use. It is an alloy consisting mostly of tin which has been mixed with small amounts of other metals such as copper, lead or antimony to harden it and make it more durable. Early pewter often contained lead to give it strength. Lead causes old pewter to turn it's characteristic dark gray color. Today’s lead-free pewter softens to a very light gray patina. Pewter replicas are made by by melting pewter alloy and casting it into molds. It’s a soft metal which is easily bent or dented. Pewter figurines tend to be produced in a smaller size scale. Souvenir buildings have been made by a variety of pewter-producing companies including: Spoontiques, WAPW (Wales Association of Pewter Works), Hudson, Bates & Klinke, Roycliffe, Superior, and many others. I’ve written beore about pewter replicas like military statues and Union College’s Nott Memorial.  Below are some examples and photos of building replicas made of pewter. Do you know of others?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Glass Souvenir Building and Monument Replicas

Chicago Interstate Industrial Exposition

Silica, in the form of sand, is the main ingredient for producing glass. This is combined with soda ash and limestone then melted in a furnace at temperatures of 1700°C. Other materials can be added to produce different colors or properties. Souvenir buildings have been produced in glass and a few are pictured here. Including, an antique glass replica of the main building from the Chicago Interstate Industrial Exposition which ran from 1873 to 1890. A Centennial Memorial Hall building glass paperweight is inscribed on front, "1776 Memorial Hall 1876" and is in the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y. A large glass stadium replica and ashtray is not marked, but may be the University of Notre Dame football stadium. A hollow glass replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia once had candy inside. glass coin bank with the words, ‘Orebro Lans Sparbank 150 AR 1976’ is a replica of one of the turrets of the Orebro castle in Sweden.
Centennial Memorial Hall
University of Notre Dame football stadium?
Independence Hall, left. 
Orebro castle in Sweden, left, and Eiffel tower.
I collect 3D metal souvenir building replica of architecture from around the world. If you have any to sell or trade, contact me via my email address in the “complete profile” link at the top right of this blog.
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