Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Orleans 1834

In 1833, New Orleans appointed Charles Zimpel as deputy city surveyor. By that time, he had already surveyed the city for the construction of the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad, and with financial backing and revenues from subscriptions, he took his map design to Prussia for printing. Each engraved map was printed from six copperplates on paper manufactured in Berlin. In 1836, The New Orleans Bee advertised that five hundred copies were available to subscribers and other purchasers, and explained that the copies had been delayed by a previous shipment’s loss at sea. A reporter for the Washington Daily National Intelligencer who saw the map for sale in the New Orleans Stationer’s Hall in 1840 proclaimed it “the most accurate and beautifully executed map in the United States.” There are only six known surviving copies.

Picture credits: Upper: Detail of the Compass Rose from Lower image: Charles Zimpel. Map of New Orleans and its Vicinity embracing a distance of twelve miles up, and eight and three quarter miles down the Mississippi River, and Part of Lake Pontchartrain representing all Public Improvements existing and projected and important Establishments, accompanied by a Statistical table, containing the most accurate Illustrations; prefaced by a Splendid View of New Orleans, & Compiled from actual surveys and the best authorities. 1834. Digital Scan of 50% Scale Photostat, Guy Seghers Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rippley's Whitewash Machine

In the early twentieth century, Rippley Manufacturing Company of Grafton, Illinois, was selling a whitewash & painting machine, a 24-gauge galvanized steel drum fitted with a ball valve brass cylinder pump, a hose and a spray nozzle.

The company provided recipes and specific instructions for operating the machine and applying various washes.

Images above: Upper: "Rippley's Whitewash & Painting Machine." Sanitary and Heating Age (1 March 1902): p. 35 available via Google Books.

Lower: "Rippley's Three Whitewash Recipes, and Directions for Applying Washes and Operating Whitewash Machines." (Grafton, IL: Rippley Mfg. Co., n.d.). Trade Catalogs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wright's New Orleans Mission

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) visited Tulane University in 1950. He had been invited to address New Orleans business leaders by Buford L. Pickens, then director of the School of Architecture.

Years later, Pickens recounted the event:

"Well, about Frank Lloyd Wright's visit--Ken Landry drove Wright from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. During this two hour ride down, Wright had 'confessed' to him that he had done the design of the old Illinois Central railroad station, that Sullivan was busy doing something more important at the time and Wright had actually done that building. I think Wright was the chief draftsman. At the time it would have been difficult to satisfy the needs of the railway people and to keep that building. What could have been done, however, would have been to have Wright design the building to replace it. That was the whole purpose of this visit, to come down and have him present his pitch to the Chamber of Commerce or its equivalent with its big wheelers and dealers, prime movers in New Orleans. People coming down from Chicago would get off the train and walk through a palm tree garden and have a very botanical kind of setting. Prominent alumni architects in this school helped to sponsor that meeting because they were influential in agreeing with me that if we got Wright personally to confront these people, that maybe he could pull it off and get the job."

Buford L. Pickens, interview with Bernard Lemann, recorded April 1988. As transcribed in Bernard Lemann, et al. Talk about Architecture: A Century of Architectural Education at Tulane. New Orleans: Tulane University School of Architecture, 1993, p. 112.

Image above: Unknown photographer. Frank Lloyd Wright at Tulane University. 1950. Color diapositive. Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Following Wright

As the Southeastern Architectural Archive prepares to install its new exhibit that focuses on Frank Lloyd Wright's influence in the southeastern Gulf Region, we have pulled out some travel slides.

During the 1950s, New Orleans architect Philip Roach, Jr. visited many of Wright's then-newly constructed buildings, taking photographs along the way. Roach's admiration for Wright took him to Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Slides above, from top to bottom:

Welbie L. Fuller Residence, Pass Christian, MS (1951; destroyed by Hurricane Camille, 1969)

Auldbrass Plantation [C. Leigh Stevens Residence], Yemassee, SC (1940-51)

Anderton Court Shops, Beverly Hills, CA (1952)

All images taken by Philip Roach, Jr. Courtesy of Philip Roach, Jr. Office Records, Southeastern Architetural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lexicon: Stair-Travelor

A previous post introduced Otis Company's Autrotronic Elevator of 1950. Over a decade earlier, New York- based Sedgwick Machine Works advertised elevators and "stair-travelors" for residential architecture. The company emphasized its products' health benefits, posting product claims in The New Yorker as well as House and Garden. These stair-travelors may still be found in some old New Orleans homes.

Image above: Sedgwick Advertisement. House and Garden (July 1938): p. 2.