The Latest

Jul 29, 2014 / 4 notes

Update on the New Casablanca Cocktail Lounge renovation in Brooklyn, NY: Owner Jon Carlson found the perfect chandeliers for his lounge from…

you guessed it, Architectural Antiques. They look amazing in the space and really bring out the vintage feel! I also love how Jon used the old exterior signs to amp up the back of the bar.

Do you love how your Architectural Antiques item makes your space special? Send us a pic to

bottom photo from American Roads tumblr

Jul 22, 2014 / 1 note

The name of decorative designer Louis J. Millet may be unknown to some, but his lifetime friend and closest collaborator, Louis Sullivan, is definitely a recognizable one. Millet and Sullivan met back in 1874 while attending the world-renowned art school, Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris. After returning back to the states, both would soon become important designers in the Chicago architecture world. Sullivan became the “father of modernism,” while Millet became one of the most notable decorative designers.

The two collaborated on projects including the National Farmer’s Bank of Owatonna, Minnesota, in which Millet designed two stained glass windows. Millet also designed stencil patterned decorations on the interiors of Sullivan’s Schiller Building and the Original Stock Exchange Room of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The pair is also attributed to being a part of the founding of the “Chicago School” or “Commercial” style of Architecture along other notable late 19th Century architects. Millet and Sullivan kept their friendship strong through collaboration of the design of the 1913 First Christian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which happens to be a recent Architectural Antiques salvage. According to Sullivan expert and cultural historian for the city of Chicago, Tim Samuelson, Louis Sullivan was a consulting architect for the church. It was in that church, that held Millet’s amazing stained glass windows and arts and crafts style stained glass lights (last photos). With their decorative wooden frames and geometric stained glass in subtle yet beautiful colors, these lights are an impressive work of art and defining piece of early 20th century design. 

While the stained glass artistry of the Iowa church did not get as much national recognition as at deserves, Millet is more well known for his award-winning design firm with George Healy and their innovative stained glass dome in the Chicago Cultural Center. In an 1885 Inland Architect article, Healy and Millet’s design work was described to be so innovative that “after thousands of years of stained glass making, to be but a beginning.”

What’s your Louis J. Millet stained glass design or Louis Sullivan building? Tweet us @arch_antiques!

Jul 17, 2014 / 1 note

A recent salvage included the Wisconsin State Historical Society’s historical marker, the Masonic Home in Dousman, WI. The land was originally used as a Wisconsin Premium Farm and farmhouse back in 1836 until 1873 when inventor-manufacturer George Washington van Brut built the mansion that showcased the Premium Farm. The farmland was later improved and presented to the Grand Masonic Lodge as a elderly living home in 1905.

After years of raising funds, the Wisconsin Masonic Home opened in 1923 and included a hospital in 1925. Serving as a dream home for senior members of the community and Wisconsin at large throughout the rest of the 20th century, it became difficult for the historic home to meet senior living codes and regulations. 

In 2006, the residents were moved to new facilities at the Three Pillars campus, and the Masonic Home was used for storage purposes. It was difficult to upkeep the home, and the decision was made to restore the land back to its original condition. While the lovely architecture will be destroyed, we were fortunate enough to save some of the 20th century beauty of the Masonic Home. A collection of commercial kitchen items including heavy duty wooden cooler doors, a stainless steel prep unit, and butcher block table perfect for creating an industrial look, while the maple built-in cabinet and transom door units (available in large quantity!) showcase the simple beauty and quality craftsmanship of the early 20th century. 

While we are sad to see the stately well-loved Masonic Home go, we are thankful to be able to pass on some of the amazing historical pieces on to you!

For more information on the Masonic Home’s history: &

Jul 10, 2014 / 1 note

"To all whom it may concern, be it known that I, Hiram Tucker, of Cambridge, in the county of Middlesex and State of Massachusetts, have invented a new and useful improvement in the manufacture of mantelpieces."

—Hiram Tucker, April 2, 1850, Specification of Letters Patent No. 7253

Fireplace mantel designer Hiram Tucker patented improvements to the common mantelpiece back in 1850. His invention involved using ornamented glass or a similar material and surrounding it with cast iron framework. This cast iron framework protects the glass from injury while allowing for an opportunity for ornament. Not only is the cast iron extremely durable, but it can be made into any pattern desired, and at a low manufacturing cost.

To get into specifics, Tucker’s design uses painted plates of glass to imitate fine marble and places these plates in cast iron frames to “form the marbled portions of the pilasters and frieze and ornamental pediment above the mantel or cornice, and secured by plaster of paris, or other durable cement.” To add even more security,  the backs of the plates of the glass that go next to the wall are covered with plaster of paris to prevent fracturing. He also had specifications for the thickness of the iron casings and glass plate, a hollow cornice, and a fireplace lining.

Hiram Tucker’s had a very innovative way of manufacturing to create decorative, durable, secure, and beautifully designed fireplace mantels. These mantels were designed and built with such quality, that they still survive today in 2014. You can own a piece of history and 19th century innovation with a Hiram Tucker designed mantel (last photo) from Architectural Antiques. 

To read the U.S. Patent for yourself:

Jun 21, 2014

The concept of fencing dates back thousands of years to the need for walls as protection from enemies. In fact, the word “fence” was first used in the middle ages and is shortened from the word “defense.” Fast forward to the populating of the American West and fencing was needed by ranchers and farmers to control their animals and served a purely functional purpose. Fast forward even more to around a hundred years ago, when ornamental fencing started being used to enclose yards and gardens in a decorative way. 

Ornamental fencing comes in all kinds of styles, colors, and materials, but a popular style in the 1900’s-1940’s was the “ornamental loop fencing” or “ornamental double loop fencing” invented in 1873. This type of fencing (first picture) even predates the introduction of the ever-popular chain link fencing in America. Made of iron wire, ornamental double loop fencing was a common fencing choice for Bungalow and Victorian homes, and is currently a sought-after fencing type for people with older homes who want to restore its glory days. 

Architectural Antiques has over 300 feet of steel ornamental loop wire fencing. With its rusty finish, unique cross-over looping at the top and X-pattern at the bottom make this fencing have even more character and ornament than double loop fencing. There are even the original steel posts with fence tighteners. This ornamental loop wire fencing is the perfect touch to add an unique, vintage feel to your garden or yard. 

For pricing and more information on the lovely steel ornamental loop wire fencing, call us at 612-332-8344 or email

Jun 18, 2014 / 1 note

While the name Edward F. Caldwell may be unfamiliar to some in 2014, his lighting company, Caldwell and Company was a leading early 20th century manufacturer of custom-made lighting fixtures for some of the most extravagant buildings and high society individuals.

Established in New York City in 1895, Caldwell specialized in electric light fixtures and decorative metalwork. After gaining venerance in the NYC society, the company was lucky to work some of the biggest early 20th century designers including McKim, Mead, and White, Carrère and Hastings, Horace Trumbauer, and Cass Gilbert.

Though most clients were wealthy and preferred traditional English, Italian, and French lighting designs, Caldwell adopted these historic forms into customized fixtures that would allow for a unified design. Caldwell used his expertise to design for the 20th century Beaux Arts mansions of Henry Clay Frick, John Jacob Astor, J.P. Morgan, and Frederick W. Vanderbilt, as well as several public commissions. Some include the White House’s beautiful chandeliers of the East Room ballroom the State Dining Room, fixtures of the Boston Public Library, and the art deco lighting for in the Radio City Music Hall.

Architectural Antiques has the Caldwell sconces to make any space feel like it’s in a Beaux Arts mansion. Call us at 612-332-8344 or e-mail for pricing and information. Tweet us a picture of your favorite Caldwell light fixture at @arch_antiques.

Photos from Smithsonian, for more information on Caldwell:

Jun 17, 2014

We loved pushing through them as kids, and now we recognize them as grand entryways to skyscrapers, luxury hotels, and fancy downtown department stores. Invented in 1888 by Philadelphia native Theophilus van Kannel, revolving doors have been a popular commercial entrance choice ever since. 

Contrary to belief, the revolving door was not invented to keep horses from entering buildings, but to benefit interior environments in ways that the basic hinged door can’t. Serving as an airlock, revolving doors help to keep cold air out and warm air in, which helps to keep heating costs down. They also help with soundproofing a building’s lobby by keeping out street commotion and removing the noise caused by slamming doors. Not only that, but they improve safety by reducing the potential of pedestrian collision.  It’s no surprise that Theophilus van Kannel was awarded a 1889 John Scott Medal by the city of Philadelphia for his smart contribution to society.

Fast forward a few years and Samuel Elliott establishes a luxury joinery and moulding manufactory called Samuel Elliott and Sons in 1903 in Reading, Berkshire, England. The firm was known for producing large shop fronts, fitments for passenger ships, secure prison doors, and revolving doors, including the set we just got in at Architectural Antiques. 

Not only are they extremely functional and environmentally smart, but they have been a symbol for extravagant, successful businesses for decades. Add some luxury to your business with a statement piece like antique revolving doors.

Jun 16, 2014 / 1 note

In Boston, on March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmits the first complete message - “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!” - with the use of his invention, the telephone.

About two years later during the period from July 30, 1878 to April 17, 1880, a series of Massachusetts corporations controlling Mr. Bell’s patent rights are organized. Bell Telephone Co., is the first of the corporations and is soon superseded by National Bell Telephone Co., which is replaced with American Bell Telephone Co. These firms supply telephone instruments to Bell-licensed exchange companies across the country.  The Bell-licensed exchange companies then rent the telephone instruments to local subscribers.

Then on March 3, 1885, the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (now known as AT&T) is established as a subsidiary of American Bell Telephone Co. Because the firm connects remote exchanges, it is popularly called the long-distance company.

Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company was a major manufacturer of telephone exchange equipment. It was founded in Chicago, Illinois, by Milo G. Kellogg, an electrical engineer. Along with Western Electric (who supplied the Bell system), Automatic Electric (who supplied General Telephone) and Stromberg-Carlson, it controlled the nation’s supply of telephone equipment until after World War II.

#history #privacy #communication #antique #ATT #americantelephoneandtelegraph #precellphones #pretwitter #preinstagram #privateconversations #bellsystem #wisconsin #telephone

Jun 12, 2014 / 3 notes

Just-In // The Fairmont Hotel Sign

Bukowski’s picaresque novel,  titled Factotum, was published in 1975. The book was the basis for the film also titled factotum. The film and book both center on the character of Henry Chinaski, Bukowski’s alter ego, who appears in much of his fiction. Although events in the book take place in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the setting of the film is contemporary. The neglected Fairmont building was a perfect location for the Bukowski-written “Factotum”. The Fairmont doubles as the skid-row home of Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical main character. Downtown bars Nye’s, 112 East Hennepin Ave., and Cuzzy’s, 507 Washington Ave. N., also were used as locations.

Both buildings are a century old. At that time, the Fairmont was home to a hotel, a paint-supply company and a rooming house. At one time, an adult bookstore was located on the first floor.

Here is the hotel after its remodel ::

Another claim to fame for this historic sign is its involvement in a tom waits song. This part of Minneapolis used to be a skid row of sorts that has obviously gained some class and beauty.


9th and Hennepin by Tom waits:

Well it’s Ninth and Hennepin
All the doughnuts have names that sound like prostitutes
And the moon’s teeth marks are on the sky
Like a tarp thrown all over this
And the broken umbrellas like dead birds
And the steam comes out of the grill
Like the whole goddamn town’s ready to blow…
And the bricks are all scarred with jailhouse tattoos
And everyone is behaving like dogs
And the horses are coming down Violin Road
And Dutch is dead on his feet
And all the rooms they smell like diesel
And you take on the dreams of the ones who have slept here
And I’m lost in the window, and I hide in the stairway
And I hang in the curtain, and I sleep in your hat…
And no one brings anything small into a bar around here
They all started out with bad directions
And the girl behind the counter has a tattooed tear
One for every year he’s away, she said
Such a crumbling beauty, ah
There’s nothing wrong with her that a hundred dollars won’t fix
She has that razor sadness that only gets worse
With the clang and the thunder of the Southern Pacific going by
And the clock ticks out like a dripping faucet
Till you’re full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin
And you spill out
Over the side to anyone who’ll listen
And I’ve seen it
All through the yellow windows
Of the evening train.

#minneapolis #tomwaits #9thandhennepin #fairmont #rainydays #hennepinave #hotel #sign #tomwaitsfan #archantiques #history #antique

In honor of the opening round of the US Open this morning. We bring you an awesome brown, retro-mod table (we have a few of them btw). The US Golf Association has embarked on a “brown is beautiful” campaign. A push to get golf courses to consider turf conditions that visually contrast with the norm (perfect green grass). So when your watching this weekend don’t adjust the tint on your television set. Pinehurst No.2 is one of the first professional level courses to implore this concept and is intentionally “browner”. Not only is it retro, but it is sustainable and beautiful. #usopen #brown #brownisbeautiful #retro #mod #antique #sustainability #reuse
Jun 12, 2014

In honor of the opening round of the US Open this morning. We bring you an awesome brown, retro-mod table (we have a few of them btw). The US Golf Association has embarked on a “brown is beautiful” campaign. A push to get golf courses to consider turf conditions that visually contrast with the norm (perfect green grass). So when your watching this weekend don’t adjust the tint on your television set. Pinehurst No.2 is one of the first professional level courses to implore this concept and is intentionally “browner”. Not only is it retro, but it is sustainable and beautiful. #usopen #brown #brownisbeautiful #retro #mod #antique #sustainability #reuse

Jun 3, 2014 / 1 note

Upcycled Bowling Lanes

Up until the 1980’s, bowling alleys used real pine and maple, and now they’ve made the switch to synthetic materials. But that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from their business revamp!

Salvaged bowling lanes are a great eco-friendly material that can be used for so many purposes. Their durability, strength, and almost indestructible quality makes them the perfect material for dining room tables, counter tops, workbenches, bars, desks, coffee tables, conference tables, benches, chairs, and even flooring and interior paneling. Their unique wood stripe pattern and geometric symbols make for an interesting wood pattern that can bring an industrial, vintage feel to the space. Besides looking amazing, the three-inch thick, hefty wood will most likely outlive its owners—and generations to come. Talk about durability! Not only is repurposing the wood better for the environment than using brand new material, but you are left with a completely rare surface with a special history and character that no other material has!

We used a section of maple bowling alley lanes to create the Architectural Antiques front desk that spans an impressive 24 feet. The industrial look is perfect for our store’s main headquarters and we think it would look great in your place too.

Architectural Antiques has the raw material to create your very own beautiful counter tops and tables for your own home or business.  Visit to check out our salvaged 1950’s bowling alley lanes from Hutchinson, Minnesota made of maple and fir.


What would you create using old bowling lanes?

Tweet us @arch_antiques!

so nice today our stone work is cracking a smile
May 28, 2014

so nice today our stone work is cracking a smile

Soul Flower Spring/Summer 2014 Catalog is available here - fashion shoot was shot here at Architectural Antiques!
May 21, 2014 / 2 notes

Soul Flower Spring/Summer 2014 Catalog is available here - fashion shoot was shot here at Architectural Antiques!

May 19, 2014 / 49 notes

It’s time to relax in your bathtub and couch at the same time – yes, combine two of the most relaxing places of any home in an upcycling and repurposing project. We will never see bathtubs the same way again. It all began when our eyes were drawn to the claw foot bathtub couch in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Yes, a claw foot bathtub couch. This unusual furniture requires heavy duty materials and hands-on work. First, check the condition of the bathtub for rusted parts to determine if it needs a sandblaster. (Which is most likely the case if you are purchasing a porcelain/cast iron antique bathtub.) Get the sandblasting job done professionally, but if you decide to do it yourself, protect yourself by wearing heavy work pants, boots, gloves, face mask, eye protection, hair protection, ear protection, and a respirator. If the nuts of the bathtub are rusty, throw these out and replace them with new ones. The bathtub would need to be washed after getting sandblasted. Next, use a permanent marker to outline the couch and use an angle grinder to slightly cut the tub. Cutting through porcelain and cast iron is a tough job. Get a clean cut by using a circular saw blade and masonry abrasive cutting wheel inside the tub. Smooth the edges with a grinding disc and sanding disc. Next, apply a clean primer to seal out moisture and corrosion. When the primer dries, paint the tub if desired and coat it with a paint primer. Once the primer dries, measure a foam padding and cloth/pattern for seating.

We have several claw foot bathtubs in our inventory – call us at 612-332-8344 or e-mail for pricing and information. Tweet us a picture of your DIY bathtub couch or favorite bathtub couch that we haven’t featured @arch_antiques.

- Yolei, Intern at Architectural Antiques

For more in-depth step-by-step instructions:

May 19, 2014

Drilling through two inches of maple #bowling #alley #lane #smoke