Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Firon & Oil

In the late 1950s, the New Orleans-based Industrial Electric, Incorporated was the local dealer of a porcelain enamel product called Firon. Utilizing a base of 16-18 gauge vitreous enameling steel coated with acid-resistant enamel frits and oxides, Firon boasted durability, weather resistance, and easy maintenance. Its popularity was in part due to an increasing demand for color in modern buildings, and it came in a wide array of colors, with varied textures and finishes.

Curtis and Davis utilized stippled cream, blue-gray and blue semi-matte Firon for their Pan-American Motor Hotel (1957), August Perez, Jr. incorporated Blue No. 53 Firon for his Blue Plate Foods Plant (1941), and Katz & Besthoff commissioned a purple color theme for one of its drug store/soda fountains. Firon proved quite popular amongst oil companies; American, Esso, Gulf, Phillips, Shell, Standard and Texaco all used the architectural porcelain.

Images above: Industrial Electric, Inc. Brochures, Box 60, Freret & Wolf Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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