Shoptalk—deciphering architectural and historic preservation jargon one word at a time!
sheet metal ornamentation
pressed or stamped sheet metal used to adorn and attract attention to a building; sheet metal ornamentation can be used on both the exterior and interior of a building
Sheet metal ornamentation is predominantly found in late 19th-century and early 20th-century buildings as mass-production of architectural ornamentation became more prevalent. The ornamental products are manufactured from tin, zinc, copper and brass. Sheet metal ornamentation can be seen on a building’s exterior in the form of balusters, brackets, conductor heads, finials, window hoods and cornices.
The W.F. Norman Corporation, located in Nevada, Missouri, continues to produce sheet metal ornaments using the same production methods and original dies as were used over a century ago. Their catalog includes a product line of 140 ceiling components and over 1,300 ornaments. The W.F. Norman Corporation replicated a missing section of the Heaton Building’s cornice using original dies. Go to www.wfnorman.com for more information about this regional treasure, or better yet, call for a plant tour!
Here are just a few items our project manager, Dana Gould, saw on a tour of the W.F. Norman plant. On the left is a column capital form W.F. Norman uses to produce sheet metal column capitals and to the right is a sample of the company’s pressed metal moldings.
The Heaton Building in Norton, Kansas exhibits sheet metal window hoods, cornice line and pressed metal interior ceilings. The window hoods and cornice line can be seen in the image below. Original stamps from W.F. Norman were used to replicate the pressed metal cornices.
A few more examples of sheet metal ornamentation can be seen on the Dugout, located at the Pioneer Ridge Development within a National Register historic district. On the left is a metal pedimented window hood, and on the right, is a metal keystone ornament.