Friday, October 23, 2009

Burnt Earth

Surely one of the glories of the city's architecture is the terra cotta. From the subways to the high tops of buildings, with interiors in between, this form of ornament is a frosting upon stone. "Look-at-me" glass doesn't come close to the beauty, the outright gorgeousness of some of it. Of course, some it was humble and run of the mill, too...

This tile, which measures 2x4 inches, was found in the outwash of Dead Horse Bay. Haphazard innernet research reveals that the Federal Seaboard Terra Cotta Corp. was based in Perth Amboy, NJ, and had a manufacturing plant in Woodbridge, NJ. The original of the company goes back a century, when the Federal Terra Cotta Company was founded in Woodbridge in 1909. This merged with other ceramic manufactuers in 1928 to take on the Federal Seaboard name. FSTC closed down in 1968. Their work graces the Romanesque US Post Office and Courthouse (I always call it the General PO) here in Brooklyn, as well as many others in the metropolis (sadly, some have been destroyed by our modern Visigoths). All things terra cotta can be looked into here at the Friends of Terra Cotta's database.

The glaze on this is uninspiring, but I do wonder what it was for. Did they impress every single tile with their name? Or was this a model tile? The numbers stamped on it suggest to me that it may have been a sample.

No comments: