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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Administrative History of the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company (1908-1943)

Scope and Content of the collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

References to works by or about Atlantic Terra Cotta Company

Description of Series

Series A Administrative Documents

Series B Firm Brochures

Series C Blueprints

Series D Periodicals

Series E Publications

Series F Photographic materials

University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Atlantic Terra Cotta Company:

An Inventory of its Architectural Records and Photographs, 1914-1941



Collection Summary

Creator: Atlantic Terra Cotta Company
Title: Atlantic Terra Cotta Company Architectural records and photographs, Architectural Terra Cotta
Dates: 1914-1941
Abstract: Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, based in Atlanta, was the largest producer of terra cotta during the company's peak years of production (1900-1929). Limited collection of administrative documents, firm brochures, blueprints, periodicals, published materials (together measuring .83 linear feet) and 138 photographs documenting activities of the company (1914-1941). Photographs provide a rich visual resource.
Identification: ATC Accession information: 1987015
Quantity: .83 linear feet of architectural records, 138 photographs
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Alexander Architectural Archive, The University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative History of the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company (1908-1943)

During the first quarter of the 20th century the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company was the largest producer of architectural terra cotta in the world. By 1908 the firm operated four plants including Perth Amboy and Rocky Hill, N.J.; Staten Island, N.Y. and Eastpoint, Ga. (near Atlanta). The company maintained branch offices in New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas and Newark, N.J. William H. Wilson presided as company president during peak years of production.

National production of terra cotta quadrupled from 1900 to 1912, and the industry prospered throughout the 1920s. Terra cotta provided the ideal facade for the high rise, metal skeletal, constructed buildings. Atlantic Terra Cotta manufactured products for forty percent of the terra cotta buildings in New York City.

Terra cotta's light weight, ease of production and low maintenance offered greater flexibility in design compared with traditional building materials such as stone and iron. This flexibility allowed company craftsmen to accommodate any style. Craftsmen prepared scale models from architects' drawings. From these they made full scale clay models from which they pulled plaster molds. Then they pressed one and a half inch clay slabs into the plaster molds, separating the clay elements from the molds after they dried. Finally the craftsmen glazed and fired the clay elements to achieve the final product.

Flexibility of the terra cotta medium allowed manufacturers to adapt to changing architectural styles of the 1920s. Contemporary geometric building designs were enhanced by the rich coloring, texture, and patterning of terra cotta products. Machine extrusion techniques mechanized terra cotta manufacture in the late 1920's and allowed for mass production of terra cotta veneers that were both practical and fireproof.

In the early 1930s, both the failure of the economy and new construction technologies contributed to the decline of the terra cotta industry. Architectural design trends at that time stressed economy and utility; and architects preferred more contemporary materials such glass and steel. The Atlantic Terra Cotta Company closed in 1943.

Significant buildings utilizing Atlantic Terra Cotta products include the Flat Iron building at 75 Fifth Avenue in New York (1901), the Woolworth Building in New York which was the world's tallest building from the time of its completion in 1908 until 1930, the Union Trust building in Detroit (1928) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (completed c. 1933).

-Kathy Martinson

Sources

"The Atlantic Terra Cotta Co." Friends of Terra Cotta 1, no. 4 (Fall/Winter 1982-83): p. 4-5.

Tunick, Susan. "A Directory of Significant Terra Cotta Buildings in New York City." SITES 18 (1986): p. 42-58.

Tunick, Susan. "The Story of Terra Cotta." SITES 18 (1986): p. 42-58.

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Scope and Content of the collection

Administrative documents, firm brochures, blueprints, periodicals, published material (together measuring.83 linear feet) and 138 photographs document activities of the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company

Almost all of the photographs in the collection document the work of the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company in Texas. The majority are identified by location and building name; some are dated.

Administrative documents consist of a legal job contract form, and a three-page written description of standard specifications for terra cotta manufacture and installation.

The majority of the records in this collection provide a rich visual resource of terra cotta products and their use during the early 1900s. Firm brochures include illustrated catalogs of specific terra cotta items, listing dimensions, colors available, and sometimes prices. Issues of Atlantic Terra Cotta's monthly publication contain mostly full page black and white photographs illustrating terra cotta use. These illustrations are accompanied by captions describing the building's history, design, and construction. Approximately one-third of the periodicals relate to historic terra cotta use in Europe; the remainder highlight the work of Atlantic Terra Cotta.

-Kathy Martinson

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Access is by appointment only to any serious scholar. Rolled materials must be flattened before viewing. A three day advance notice is required to flatten rolled materials. Portions of this collection are not processed and may not be accessible.

Restrictions on Use

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Alexander Architectural Archive's Use Policy.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Texas Online Catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Organizations:
Atlantic Terra Cotta Company--Archives.
Subjects:
Architectural terra cotta.
Skyscrapers--Texas
Buildings--Texas
Office buildings--Texas
Hotels, taverns, etc.--Texas
Theaters--Texas.
Church architecture--Texas.
Terra-cotta--Periodicals.
Service stations.
Document types:
Photoprints.

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Related Material

The Staten Island Historical Society has 0.1 linear feet of architectural drawings, correspondence and photoprints in their collection of Atlantic Terra Cotta Company records, 1889-1983. In addition, related photographs can be found in the Staten Island Georgraphic Photograph File and Miscellaneous Staten Island Photographs Collection.

Contact information: Staten Island Historical Society, Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Avenue, Staten Island, New York, 10306; phone 718-351-1611; fax: 718-351-6057

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Atlantic Terra Cotta Company Architectural records and photographs, 1914-1941, Architectural Terra Cotta, the Alexander Architectural Archive, the General Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Materials processed by: Kathy Martinson, October 1992

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Other Finding Aids

Unpublished inventory in Archive.

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References to works by or about Atlantic Terra Cotta Company

"The Atlantic Terra Cotta Co." Friends of Terra Cotta 1, no. 4 (Fall/Winter 1982-83): p. 4-5.

Bronson, Steve. "The Forgotten Pediment of the Philadelphia Museum of Art." National Sculpture Review 25, no. 1 (Spring 1976): p. 16-17.

Tunick, Susan. "Architectural Terra Cotta: Its Impact on New York City." SITES 18 (1986): p. 4-38.

Tunick, Susan. "A Directory of Significant Terra Cotta Buildings in New York City." SITES 18 (1986): p. 58-64.

Tunick, Susan. "The Story of Terra Cotta." SITES 18 (1986): p. 42-58.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

 

Series A Administrative Documents

Series Abstract
The Administrative documents series consist of a legal job contract form, and a three-page written description of standard specifications for terra cotta manufacture and installation.
box folder
1 1 Contract for architectural terra cotta (2): standard form of contract/legal agreement
2 Standard specifications for architectural terra cotta: Special conditions: Terra Cotta Specifications, 3 typed pp.

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Series B Firm Brochures

Series Abstract
The Firm brochures series includes illustrated catalogs of specific terra cotta items, listing dimensions, colors available, and sometimes prices. Some brochures highlight a specific project.
box folder
1 3 Dimensions/Sketches of the 3rd National Bank Building, Atlanta, Ga.- example for clients (3)
4 Catalog of Terra Cotta Bank Buildings- states architects, builders, project name, city and a short description of 8-10 buildings
5 Garden Pottery: 2 catalogs and 1 issue of Atlantic Terra Cotta. Vol. 3, no. 6 Shows styles and glaze choices with color illustrations (April 1916).
6 Suggestions for Color Effects Charts (4)- spinning wheel shows effects of different colors on a certain scheme
7 Catalog of Chimney Pots, 2nd ed. Includes: roof cresting and finials (showing colors, diameters, bases and heights)
8 Roof Tiles of ATC
9 Wall Units: recent installations of ATC- large booklet with black and white photos and a page of color choices
10 Story of Polychrome Terra Cotta Tympanum for the Pennsylvania Art Museum in Philadelphia (2)- a 2 pp. pamphlet showing 1 color photo and 2 black and white photos

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Series C Blueprints

Series Abstract
The Blueprints series portray a swimming pool project and a figurative bas relief.
box folder
1 11 Economy K & E Company design for a swimming Pool (includes small measured elevation)
12 Bas-relief -- figurative (3)

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Series D Periodicals

Series Abstract
The Periodicals series lists issues of Atlantic Terra Cotta's monthly publication. Issues contain mostly full page black and white photographs illustrating terra cotta use. These illustrations are accompanied by captions describing the building's history, design, and construction. Approximately one-third of the periodicals relate to historic terra cotta use in Europe; the remainder highlight the work of Atlantic Terra Cotta. The Architecture and Planning Library also holds issues of this title.
box folder
1 13 Color Panel of San Francisco: late 15th century. From pastel sketch by HVK Henderson, and Ospedale del Ceppo, Pistoia, 1514
(supplements to Atlantic Terra Cotta, 1923)
14 Plates of Polychrome Sculptures (3) from Atlantic Terra Cotta (tear sheets): Madison Square Presbyterian Church, NYC (front view of gables, dome); Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio (Ranger Williams, John the Baptist, and Christ)
15 Atlantic Terra Cotta: The Ospedale Maggiore, Milan. Vol. 5, no. 1 (May 1922).
16 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Renaissance Terra Cotta of Ferrara. Vol. 6, no. 4 (Sept. 1923).
17 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Renaissance Architecture of Terra Cotta. Vol. 6, no. 7 (Dec. 1923).
18 Atlantic Terra Cotta: The Flashing of Terra Cotta. Vol. 7, no. 1 (Dec. 1924).
19 Atlantic Terra Cotta: English Terra Cotta 1294-1610. Vol. 7, no. 5 (Dec. 1924).
20 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Polychrome Terra Cotta. Vol. 7, no. 6 (Jan. 1925).
21 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Atlantic Terra Cotta Modeling. Vol. 7, no. 9 (April 1925).
22 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Studies in Polychromy-The Renaissance. Vol. 7, no. 10 (May 1925).
23 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Studies in Polychromy-The Romanesque. Vol. 7, no. 12 (Sept. 1925).
24 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Studies in Polychromy-The Romanesque. Vol. 8, no. 1 (Oct. 1925).
25 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Studies in Polychromy-Early Romanesque. Vol. 8, no. 2 (Nov. 1925).
26 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Miami, Tampa, New York, Philadelphia. Vol. 8, no. 4 (Jan. 1926).
27 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Japan, Osaka, Tokio, Kobe. Vol. 8, no. 5 (Feb. 1926).
28 Atlantic Terra Cotta: 1879-1881. Vol. 8, no. 7 (April 1926).
29 Atlantic Terra Cotta: The Glory that was Greece-Philadelphia Art Museum. Vol. 8, no. 11 (Feb. 1927).
30 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Apartments and Apartment Hotels. Vol. 9, no. 2 (May 1927).
31 Atlantic Terra Cotta: McKim, Mead, & White: Early Work in ATC. Vol. 9, no. 3 (June 1927).
[2 copies]
32 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Tower Buildings of Terra Cotta. Vol. 9, no. 4 (Jan. 1928).
33 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Night Architecture. Vol. 9, no. 8 (May 1928).
34 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Terra Cotta Work of Dennison & Hirons. Vol. 9, no. 9 (June 1928).
35 Atlantic Terra Cotta: The Solution in Color. Vol. 9, no. 10 (1929).
[2 copies]
36 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Arnold W. Brunner & Associates. Vol. 10, no. 1 (April 1929).
[2 copies]
37 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Top Stories and Roof Lines. Vol. 10, no. 2 (1929).
38 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Three Buildings. Vol. 10, no. 4 (Oct. 1929).
[3 copies]
39 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Three Buildings. Vol. 10, no. 5 (May 1930).
40 Atlantic Terra Cotta: Various Buildings. Vol. 11, no. 3 (Nov. 1932).
[3 copies]

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Series E Publications

Series Abstract
The Publications series contains publications regarding terra cotta not listed in other series.
box folder
2 1 Illustrations of terra cotta detailing: "How to Recognize Architectural Details" (Terra Cotta Series A); 30 pictures of details with building source
2 Articles on terra cotta use & photo: "Art in Terra Cotta," and "Architectural Terra Cotta: details to be considered in its manufacture and handling," from Manufacturers' Record, and a photo of a terra cotta tile
3 "The Swimmer - Terra Cotta Sculpture." Ceramic Age (Feb. 1936).
4 Texas Society of Architects - 2nd Annual Convention at Hotel Baker, Dallas, Tex. October 2-4, 1941,
5 Southwest Chats (April 1933).
6 The Federal Architect Journal. Vol. 7, no. 3 Articles on Broadway; St. Gauden's Memorial; The Hills of Kent; Sketches made at New Ben, N.C.; San Jacinto Monument, etc. (Jan. 1937).
7 Texas State Association of Architects - 1917 Year Book. Published by the Convention Committee of the 10th Annual Convention, Waco, Tex.

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Series F Photographic materials

Series Abstract
The Photographic materials series is arranged alphabetically by name of building. Projects that have been identified are listed after the bulk heading. Photocopies of photographs are available in the finding aid located in the Archive.
box folder
2 8 A-C
Administration Building. Denton, Tex., C. H. Page and Brothers.
Allen Building. Dallas, Tex., J.M. McCammon.
America Indemnity Building. Galveston, Tex., Green and Finger.
America National Bank. Wichita Falls, Tex., F. Stanley Field.
American National Bank. Terrell, Tex., C. D. Hill and Co.
Atlantic Terra Cotta Company. New York, N.Y.
Atlantic Terra Cotta Company. Interior. New York, N.Y.
Baker Hotel. Dallas, Tex., P. J. Bradshaw.
Baylor University. Waco, Tex., Auditorium. Lang and Witchell.
Ben Zindler's Clothing Store. Houston, Tex., Finger and Cato.
Callahan County Courthouse. Baird, Tex., Voelcker and Dixon.
Clint Wood Residence. Wichita Falls, Tex., E. Stanley Field.
box folder
2 9 D-E
Dallas Athletic Club. Dallas, Tex., Lang and Witchell.
Dallas National Bank Building. Dallas, Tex., Coburn, Smith and Evans.
Dallas Power and Light Company. Dallas, Tex., Lang and Witchell.
Eastland County Courthouse. Eastland, Tex., Lang and Witchell.
EHST Texas Teacher's College Education Building. Commerce, Tex., G.H. Page and Brother.
box folder
2 10 F
F.W. Woolworth 5, 10, and 15 cent store. San Antonio, Tex., Adams and Adams.
First Baptist Church. Austin, Tex., C. W. Bulger and Son
First Baptist church. Sunday School Building. Dallas, Tex., R. H. Hunt and Co.
First Church of Christ Scientist. Fort Worth, Tex., W. G. Clarkson and Co.
First Guaranty State Bank. Quanah, Tex., Field and Clarkson
First Methodist Episcopal Church. Denton, Tex., R. M. Hunt Co.
First National Bank. Corsicana, Tex., Field and Clarkson.
First National Bank. Paris, Tex., Griffith - Barglebauch
Floral Heights Methodist Church. Wichita Falls, Tex., E. Stanley Field
Freed - Sochat Building (Rouse Drug Store). Houston, Tex., Joseph Finger
box folder
2 11 G-I
Grand Theater. Mineral Wells, Tex., H.T. Cotta Co.,A.B. Withers
Greenville National Bank. Greenville, Tex., Lang and Witchell
Hills Building. El Paso, Tex., Trost and Trost
Hilton Hotel. Waco, Tex., Lang and Witchell
Hotel William Penn. Houston, Tex., Joseph Finger
Hunt County Courthouse. Greenville, Tex., Page Brothers
box folder
2 12 J-K-L
Jefferson Hotel. Dallas, Tex., Lang and Witchell
Kirby Memorial Building. Interior. Wilkes Barre, Pa., J. H. Atherton
Lone Star Gas Building. Dallas, Tex., Lang and Witchell
box folder
2 13 M-N-O
Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station. Amarillo, Tex., Clarkson and Gaines
Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station. Corpus Christi, Tex.
Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station. Corpus Christi, Tex.
Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station. Dallas, Tex., Lang and Witchell
Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station. Fort Worth, Tex., Clarkson and Gaines
Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station. Houston, Tex., Alfred C. Finn
Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station and Office Building. San Antonio, Tex., Adams and Adams
Magnolia Petrolium Co. Filling Station. San Antonio, Tex., Adams and Adams
Masonic Temple (Amarillo). Amarillo, Tex., H. M. Greene Co.
Masonic Temple (Dallas). Dallas, Tex., H. M. Greene Co.
Masonic Temple (Port Arthur). Port Arthur, Tex., William B. Hiner
Masonic Temple (Wichita Falls). Wichita Falls, Tex., Field and Clarkson
McCrory Store. San Antonio, Tex., W. H. Simpson (NYC)
Methodist Episcopal Church. Waco, Tex., R. H. Hunt Co.
National Bank of Commerce Building. Tex., Adams and Adams
Neil P. Anderson Building. Fort Worth, Tex., Sanguinet and Staats
Nueces County Courthouse. Corpus Christi, Tex., H. L. Page and Brothers
Oaklawn Methodist Church. Dallas, Tex., C. D. Hill and Co.
box folder
2 14 P-Q
Palace Theater. Dallas, Tex., T. Lamb
Parkland Hospital. Dallas, Tex., H. M. Greene Co.
Perkins Dry Good Co. Dallas, Tex., C. D. Hill and Co.
box folder
2 15 R
Rice Hotel. West wing addition. Houston, Tex., Alfred Finn
Robert F. Welsh Residence. Laverock, Pa., Howe and Lescaze
box folder
2 16 S
Sam Houston Normal School. Education Building. Huntsville, Tex., Endress and Watkin
Sam Houston Normal School. Science Hall. Huntsville, Tex., Endress and Watkin
San Antonio Drug Co. San Antonio, Tex., Adams and Adams
San Jacinto Trust Co. Building. Houston, Tex., J. W. Northrop
Scottish Rite Cathedral (El Paso). El Paso, Tex., Herbert M. Greene
Scottish Rite Dormitory. Austin, Tex., Herbert M. Greene Co.
Scottish Rite Temple (El Paso). El Paso, Tex., H. M. Greene Co
Second National Bank Building. Houston, Tex., Sanguinet Staats and Gottlieb
Security State Bank. Eastland, Tex., Lang and Witchell
Shaareth Israel Synagague. Dallas, Tex., Lang and Witchell
Simms Oil Station. Dallas, Tex., Fooshee and Cheek
Smith - Young Tower. San Antonio, Tex., Ayres and Ayres
South Western Telephone Company. Haskell Exchange. Dallas, Tex., I. R. Timlin System and Lang and Witchell
South Western Telephone Company. Taylor Telephone Exchange. Tex., I. R. Timlin
Star Telegraph Building. Fort Worth, Tex., Sanguinet and Staats
State National Bank Building. Corsicana, Tex., Coburn Smith and Evans (formerly C.D.Hill Co.)
Strand Theater. Wichita Falls, Tex., E. Stanley Field
box folder
2 17 T
Temple Beth Israel. Houston, Tex., Joseph Finger
Temple Emmanuel. Dallas, Tex., Hubbell and Greene
Tennison Hotel. Houston, Tex., Finger and Cato
Thompson Restaurant. Dallas, Tex., Marshall Fox
Tower Petroleum Building. Dallas, Tex., Mark Lemmon
Tucson High School. Tucsa, Ariz., Lyman and Place
box folder
2 18 U-V-W
U. S. Federal Reserve Bank. Dallas, Tex., Graham, Anderson, Probst and White
Wells Fargo and American Express Co. Building. Dallas, Tex., J. H. Humphrey
Wichita Falls City Hall and Auditorium. Wichita Falls, Tex., Lang and Witchell
box folder
2 19 X-Y-Z
YWCA. Dallas, Tex., C. D. Hill and Co.
YWCA Boarding House. Dallas, Tex., H. M. Greene
box folder
2 20 Architectural details
21 Unidentified buildings

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