Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Building Maker: A.C. Rehberger

Edifice aficionados generally agree that one company stands out as a premier maker of finely-crafted souvenir buildings. The A.C. Rehberger Company, later known as A.C.R. Limited, was founded in 1912 by Alfred C. Rehberger. The metal building replicas are very sought after by building collectors and coin bank collectors for the attention to detail and quality casting. In the early part of the 20th Century, the A.C. Rehberger Company was one of only two firms in the U.S. which specialized in hand-molded, handcrafted metal sculptural figurines. Cast in lead or zinc and plated in silver, brass or copper, the miniatures produced varied. Over 3000 different paperweights, bookends, desk sets, ashtrays, nameplates, sports trophies and collectors' items were created by Rehberger - including the first Oscar statuette in the 1920s. During the 1930s, the firm became known for its metal coin banks and miniature buildings produced as giveaway promotions for banks and financial institutions. Among the most popular building replica this company made include the Beaux Arts Dollar Savings Bank in Pittsburgh and the Syracuse Savings Bank which I have written about before. Most Rehberger coin banks are identified with the name stamped into the bottom metal trap, but a few versions have a paper label attached (which is sometimes missing). In the 1970s, the company was purchased by Avram Roitman, who served as company president. The Art Institute of Chicago acquired a set of Rehberger souvenir buildings and company documents which are now called the “Miniature Building Collection, 1920-2002.” Business records, account files, contracts, brochures, as well as over forty building models and molds are included in the archive. According to the records, The Adler Planetarium and the Fort Dearborn were replicas made by Rehberger. Could these be unmarked Rehberger buildings in our collections?

1 comment:

eSPy said...

I have a lead miniature Fort Dearborn, and a bookend set (with full 3 D Building of Fort Dearborn) in lead also. It has the AC REHBERGER paper label on the bottom.

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