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Early American Wrought Iron Three Volumes in One

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Early American Wrought Iron - three volumes in one
Albert H Sonn
733 pages
This is a reference work documenting early American wrought iron items. If the title was interesting enough for you click on this review then you probably need this book.
The emphasis here is historical documentation. It contains no descriptions of construction, no examination of processes involved, but it has page after page of handmade items, some dating back to the late 1500’s. All items shown as nicely hand drawn sketches (no photos). The sketches are more generalized than detailed, so the section on locks for example is a bit frustrating for anyone with plans to duplicate a 17th century padlock.But it may be a good place to start forming a plan, with a follow up to a museum that has what you want to copy. on the other hand there loads of simpler items that would be very easy to copy. most items have general dimensions in the descriptions.
The Beauty of this book is the sheer volume of items one can peruse. From Andirons to Wafer irons there is more to see in this book than most any museum could hold. And many of significant historical value.
Handles, latches an hinges being exhaustively covered in the first two volumes. My favorite is the third volume covering railings, gates, weather-vanes and household items.
In my opinion the author was likely getting tired by the time he got here, so the depth of items covered is shallow compared to the handles, but overall an amazing amount of work went into these volumes.
Now about price, original copies of the single volumes can get outrageously high. The one I got was the three volumes in one book and in my opinion is reasonably priced for the material covered. Also be careful as there is a little flimsy booklet by the same tittle out there that is much cheaper. Just be sure the author is correct before ordering anything.

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It is a great book.
This is where I purchased my copy: http://www.bluemoonpress.org/index.php/browse-all.html?author=170
Nice folks to deal with.
There are a bunch of used copies here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/051727793X/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used

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  • 1 year later...

I ran across the original 3 volume set at the State of New Mexico library in the early 1970's. I was transfixed. I was finally was able to obtain a combined Bonanza edition, 1979. There is some Hispanic styled hardware, my particular interest, on pages 55, 87, 89, 249, and and 255.

One of my fave pieces is the long head bolt (door bolt) which is Pennsylvania German in origin. The workmanship and design are exquisite. I've made a number of head and foot bolts, and I sandwich a mildly curved, thin, flat spring between the escutcheon and the bolt. The spring is riveted to the escutcheon, and its length on mine is from center of keeper to center of keeper. The spring provides a friction hold on the bolt in order to keep it in place.

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I've been looking through my copy (Which is actually a 1979 as well, not 78' like I stated above) and noticed at least one piece from Winston Salem NC not far from where I live. Was pretty neat, and will have to get a good view next time I go up there for their historic walk throughs.

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I deeply cut a finger on a circular saw, was operated on and cannot forge for a while. Not being able to live alone with only one usefull hand, I had to come to my girlfriend's place to live. I had planned on passing a lot of time with Sonn and research all the french influences he identifies and list possible designs for a huge project that is taking shape.

I can see the book staring at me on the table. it's still there...

It would have been a wonderfull week spent analysing the details in Sonn's book. And a week is not sufficient.

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  • 2 years later...

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