Building 51 | Building 51 | c. 1896 ornamental cast iron interior fisher building main lobby elevator door with bower-barff finish
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c. 1896 ornamental cast iron interior fisher building main lobby elevator door with bower-barff finish



Chicago Buildings

About This Item

original c. 1896 striking gothic style ornamental cast iron interior elevator door, removed from the historic fisher building lobby during renovations and/or upgrades. the elevator door has six deep relief panels featuring a remarkably well-executed rich and lively aggregate of intertwined leaves. the interconnected twisted wrought iron rods dividing the panels are accentuated with square floral rosettes. the highly ornamented kickplate features a central gothic medallion with incised rings and rosettes. the flanking reticulated foliage echoes the design elements contained within the panels above. the door was fabricated by the winslow brothers foundry based in chicago. the original finish, known as the bower-barff process (coating w/ magnetic iron oxide) is mostly intact, with the majority of the loss localized at the bottom of the door. the fisher building is a 20-story, 275 foot tall neo-gothic landmark building in the chicago loop community area of chicago. commissioned by paper magnate lucius fisher, the original building was completed in 1896 by d.h. burnham & company with an addition later added in 1907. it was designated a chicago landmark on june 7, 1978. the building was added to the national register of historic places on march 16, 1976. at the time of its completion, the building was one of two buildings in chicago that was 18 stories tall, the other being the masonic building. to this day, the fisher building is the oldest 18 story building in chicago that has not been demolished. the masonic temple, while taller and older, was demolished in 1939. though a project of d.h. burnham & company, the original structure was designed by charles atwood. in 1906, an addition on the northern side of the building raised it from 18 to 20 stories. a former employee of the burnham firm, peter j. weber, designed and oversaw the building’s addition which was completed in 1907. the fisher building features terra-cotta carvings of various aquatic creatures including fish and crabs. in addition, there are eagles, dragons and mythical creatures depicted on the facade as well. the entire building is fireproof–all steel work protected with hollow fireclay tile; floors of similar material, being flat arches. floors finished in marble mosaic in the halls; white maple in the rooms; inside finish is of polished mahogany; all halls are marble wainscoted 7′ high with veined italian marble. construction was carried out by the guaranty construction company of chicago. (all have advertisements following): pioneer fireproof construction company: “hard-burned fire-clay tile from their own clay beds at ottawa;” 206 car loads, weighing 3,620 tons. northwestern terra cotta company of chicago: exterior, except 10 stories of north wall which are hollow building tile “the new process of finely spattering the terra cotta before burning in has been used throughout.” rittenhouse embree company: hardwood flooring – 120,000′ of kiln-dried polished maple. evans marble company: 40,000 square feet of marble; veined italian marble wainscoting from carrara, first floor of italian pavonazzo. frank l. davis: designed and finished the mosaics. winslow brothers company: ornamental iron in blue-black finish (bower-barff process). l. h. prentice company; steam-heating work; johnson temperature controlling company: heat regulation. grimshaw company and general electric: electric mains, electrical fixtures by chicago edison company. p.f. corbin; hardware. alfred barker: tinting and house painting. the door measures 84 inches in height. the width is 24 1/2 inches. please contact for price and provenance.