Author Archives: AtlasSigns

Taking a Giant Step Further—Frank Lloyd Wright and The Prairie School Style of Architecture

 

Forest for the trees CVA

“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”
― Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright’s goals and influence preceded, then paralleled, then overlapped, and finally passed and surpassed, the American Craftsman style…well into the 1940’s and ‘50s.

 

The open miles upon miles of Prairie, omnipresent in the Midwest, inspired Wright and others of the Prairie School to design horizontally emphasized homes that complemented their surroundings. They engendered the same feelings evoked by those practically endless wide-open vistas. Specifying warm earth tones and use of locally obtainable and affordable building materials, including stone, wood, and glass was what Wright called “Organic architecture.” He was a true environmentalist.

 

This discipline also called for artisanal crafting, and was an attempt to develop a truly genuine American style of Architecture, without borrowing from others (even those in the American Craftsman movement owed something to their English counterparts, as they rebelled against lack of individuality.) This soulless lack was a byproduct of the Industrial Evolution).

 

Wright’s detailing included designing American-influenced fonts, which can be seen and/or specified on many Atlas signs and plaques.
Frank Lloyd Eaglefeather Plaque CO Frank Lloyd Craftsman Address Plaque BVE frank lloyd craftsman address copper verdi lat long

Besides accountability, much of the emphasis on designing homes for the working and middle class was put on making them economical.

 

Wright spent much time in Wisconsin; the Oak Park suburb of Chicago; and Arizona, although he did a stint in Berlin, and he designed the magnificent Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright also created a number of beautiful radically designed homes in Oak Park, Illinois. Each year there is a daylong tour of private homes and public buildings designed by Wright and his contemporaries. Next year’s Wright Plus will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2016.

 

Let’s get back to the Atlas plaques that could add more beauty to your home.

Eagle Scout Final Projects: Helping the Community with Good Deeds

The Eagle Scout final project is the largest project in the entire scouting community. But what do you have to do?

 

Pewter POW MIA Sign

A Memorial to Those Who Fought For Us

 

Well, that is really up to the scout. They can do almost anything they get approval for, but one of the projects that we see is a military memorial for a city or park, because the Eagle Scout Final Project cannot specifically help a business or individual.

Our custom signs are a great touch for any memorial, but they’re even better for an Eagle Scout project. Because our signs are lighter than cast metal and only a quarter of the cost, you can spend less time on fundraising and more time on developing the rest of the project. In addition, our signs can be easily mounted on a stake or wall with our selection of mounting styles. On top of the ease for installation, our signs are durable and weather-proof.

If you know any Eagle Scouts who have finished projects using any of our signs, let us know! We love to see our signs doing what we designed them to do. And we support improving local parks and communities.

Remember, all signs from Atlas Signs and Plaques are made from American Materials and Labor.

Halloween: A Time of Fright, A Time of Delight (October)

Trick or Treat?

 

Halloween Ornament

Spooky!

The kids are back in school and winter is just around the corner. That means it’s just about time to start thinking about Halloween!

What’s somewhat interesting about Halloween is that it only developed into its modern form, complete with trick-or-treating and costumes in the late 1930’s. On the other hand, the tradition of pumpkin carving is based on the tradition of turnip carving, which comes from Ireland and England. The original idea was the carving a turnip would maintain the souls trapped in purgatory.

But the most prominent feature of Halloween is the scare factor. Spooky attractions and decorations are sprinkled throughout cities and towns, with splashes of humor as well. If you’re looking for an ornament that will last through the years, check out our signs, clocks, and ornaments. At our Etsy Shop, we have skull ornaments in the Ready to Ship section. We also have a Spooky Skull clock, but we can also do a custom sign. Just let us know what you want, and we’ll get it to you within two weeks plus shipping.

As always, all of our signs, plaques, clocks, and ornaments are made here in Lake Mills, Wisconsin from American Materials and Labor.

 

 

How to Patina, Part I

Bronze Gate House Sign with Verdi Patina

Bronze Gate House Sign with Verdi Patina

What is Patina?
Commonly pronounced in the US as pa tee’ne, or puh tee’nuh”.

Most broadly defined as the observed and physical change in a surface over time caused by exposure to oxygen or other environmental elements and compounds.

Bronze Horse at Hilton Resort, Hawaii

Hilton Resort, Hawaii

On metal, it is the film of corrosion on the surface caused primarily by the reaction of the metal with oxygen. To put it in perspective, think of an old penny, a rusty pipe, or the Statue of Liberty. However, there is more to it; The natural rate of change depends upon the aggressiveness of the environment. Since the level of pollutants, rainfall, and acidity vary locally, the rate, chemical make-up, and therefore the color and depth of the patina will also vary. Rates of patina build-up and color will change year-to-year, and even seasonally.

Paris Door Knob

Paris Door Knob

Patina is not confined to metal. It can also refer to the change over time in wood or the long-term change in furniture or other items, caused not only by oxidation, but by repeated cleaning, rubbing and polishing. To summarize, patina is the rich and often lustrous natural toning once only available by waiting months, decades, or eons. Because of the time factor, surfaces with a fine patina often command a premium price.

Bronze Statue, London

Bronze Statue, London

At Metal Facades, copper, bronze and brass are among our most popular coatings. These have some similarities in the way they naturally patina. Although other elements can be included in the mix, bronze and brass are primarily alloys of  copper along with tin and zinc, respectively. The natural coating that develops on these copper-based metals can range from brown to green, all in a multitude of shades and hues, depending on time and environment. The desirable green shades (formations of copper carbonate) used to be called Verdigris, but in modern times are usually shortened to Verde or Verdi. (We use Verdi).

Bronze Statue, Florence Italy

Bronze Statue, Florence Italy

The layer of patina, interestingly, can protect against continuing corrosion and is encouraged to provide a protective barrier against further deterioration. However, this is less likely to be the case in larger cities or areas with higher levels of natural or industrial pollution. In these cases, the green and blue colors are mainly from copper sulfides and are not protective, allowing corrosion to wreck the havoc of deterioration beneath the surface. Areas of harmful or beneficial patina can flake-off allowing the patina process begins anew on that area. This phenomenon, can be responsible (along with pigeon poop) for some of the wilder examples of patinas shown.

While we have been reviewing copper and copper alloys, common rust in all its splendid coloring, is a patina effect on iron and iron alloys such a steel. Rust is iron oxide formed by the reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or atmospheric water vapor.  We think rust is beautiful!!

Kitchen Backsplash, Iron with Rust Patina

Kitchen Backsplash, Iron with Rust Patina

Golden Gate Bridge Column Plaque

Golden Gate Bridge Column Plaque

Close-up of Golden Gate Bridge Plaque

Close-up of Golden Gate Bridge Plaque

Great Natural Patina on Golden Gate Bridge

Great Natural Patina

Unknown to many, even aluminum forms a surface oxidation (patina) of aluminum oxide almost immediately. It often goes unnoticed because it is, most commonly, in a whitish crystalline form. Like the patina on copper and copper alloys, the surface oxidation on aluminum protects the metal against further deterioration.

Wide variations in patina are normal whether naturally developed or artist applied. Several items from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge are shown because we think it is very interesting that even items from the same era and environment can differ so greatly. Also contrast the Golden Gate examples, which are only 70 years old with some the centuries old European pieces.

Go to Part II: How We Do It

Amy’s Sign Looks Fabulous!

We love it when our customers love their signs, and we also love it when they share their enthusiasm with us! Here’s what Amy had to say about her new sign:

“I got the sign today- it looks fabulous – and the craftsmanship is perfect. Put in back in the mail today to get to my parent’s place by Saturday and I think it’s going to make it for their anniversary!!! Thank you for helping me getting this processed and shipped quickly. You guys are the best, and I will definitely order from your company again.  I REALLY appreciate the awesome customer service :)”

A HUGE thanks to all of our customers, we appreciate all of your business very much!