Arts and Crafts Grilles, Decorative Grilles, Foundation Vent Covers, Radiator Covers, Return Air Filter Grilles
History of Historical Arts and Crafts Decorative Style Grille
The history of our Arts & Crafts Decorative Style Grille
This is our Historical Arts & Crafts Decorative Style Grille.
We have been manufacturing these vents in the USA since 2005. We first crossed paths with them during a historical preservation project just north of Baltimore Maryland. The home was originally built in the early 1870s for the owner of The Baltimore Sun Newspaper, and for a while it was the largest home in the USA. Beaux-Arts was called to reproduce several sizes of these grilles, that were damaged or missing from the house. We immediately noticed that the detail and quality of the castings exceeded all other historic grilles we had seen. The back of the grilles were stamped with the duct size and “Tuttle and Bailey”. The company was founded by William B. Tuttle in 1846. Originally named Tuttle & Brother, they manufactured at 79 Madison Ave, New York. They later moved to Brooklyn, New York, from 1865-1922. The company made its mark by becoming the dominant manufacturer of cast bronze, brass and iron grilles and registers. They were very much about creating attractive grilles to camouflage radiators and to offer attractive options that would not disfigure rooms.
At the time, these vents were convection air grilles, since force air heating had not yet been invented. In the post Civil war period new homes were heated with a boiler in the basement. Usually the front foyer had a large floor grille so the heat from the boiler could rise up to warm the rest of the house. Additionally the hot air from the basement traveled though the space between the outside walls and the plastered interior wall, to heat individual rooms. In modern homes this space is now filled with insulation. Back in the late 1800s, only the finest homes had this type of convection heat system and Tuttle and Bailey made the finest grilles. Their grilles were cast in the Lost Wax method of casting, with expensive metals like bronze and brass. The lost wax method was expensive and labor intensive, but it produced smooth clean surfaces, free of grain, air bubbles, seam lines and flash. The less expensive sand casting was relegated to cheaper grille designs made for middle class markets. The late 1800 was called “The Gilded Age” and rich industrialist wanted the finest details in their mansions, including the grilles. Tuttle and Bailey catered to that upscale market. The late 1800s was also the time of the “Arts & Crafts” movement, as everything detail was decorated and elegant. Hence we named our line of historic vents, “Arts & Craft Style Grilles”
Here is an antique cast iron floor heating register in what we today call our “Arts and Crafts Style”.
Vintage Hardware and Lighting has these 2 antique pieces Only 10″ x 14″, no other sizes.
Polished Unlacquered Brass 10″ x 14″ for $595
Antique Brass 10″ x 14″ $595
The Grilles that Tuttle and Bailey made soon caught the attention of the worlds richest man, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was the first man to amassed wealth of one half of one billion dollars. He made his fortune by developing ways to produce great quantities of steel, for railroads, bridges, ships and skyscrapers. Later in life, he decided to give his money back to the people, in the form of libraries. Carnegie offered to build a new library for every municipality that would pay for half the costs. Andrew Carnegie built 2,509 “Carnegie Libraries” from 1883 to 1929, most in the USA. All those Libraries were built in the popular Beaux-Arts Style of Architecture and all of them used the Tuttle and Bailey, Arts & Craft style grilles. As a result these grilles have great historical significance.
I could not find a photograph of library interior with this particular style, but love this picture of the Pittsburgh Carnegie Library interior and the oval decorative grilles.
I love the irony of this as today, Tuttle & Bailey is the dominant manufacturer of industrial air system components. Their industrial louvered grilles are in most all homes.
So Beaux-Arts was tasked with faithfully reproducing grilles that were cast in perhaps the greatest foundry of the gilded age. To do so we needed to modernize and streamline the prohibitively expensive lost wax casting method. We decided on using an industrial quality urethane resin to reproduce the hand carved details of the original grilles. Instead of making one completely encapsulated mold for each and every casting, we developed a one sided reusable version made from the finest modern materials. Even though our first casting were somewhat crude compared to what we make today, they were never the less impressive. Over time we have refined our process and introduced many in-house innovations, such as using metallic powder finishes, 3D engineering, and heat curing. Originally Tuttle and Bailey made about ten different sizes, today Beaux-Arts Classic products makes seventy different sizes. We also make filter grilles, foundation vents, speaker grilles, radiator grilles and suspended ceiling grilles We are proud of this product and it’s place in American history. Because of our efforts our Arts & crafts style grilles meet the U. S. Government’s General Services Administration Code #1501003S Standards for Historic Preservation Guidelines.
Here is our urethane cast 10″ x 14″ Arts and Crafts grille in our Rubbed Bronze Finish $114.
It is affordable while offering all the advantages of being cast in urethane resin. A perfect material for heating and air conditioning vent covers.
” Design is not just what it looks like and feels like, Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs
As designers, we were motivated to preserve this handsome design because it is timeless and very functional. We have had the Arts and Crafts tested for air flow and it performs in line with louvered grilles of the same size but without the noise problem.
When we started making the Arts and Crafts style grille we made them by hand. In order to accommodate the demands for all the different sizes for modern HVAC we had to use modern moulding.
Old Arts and Crafts 24″ x 24″ with modern moulding
Grand Del Mar, San Diego 5-Star Hotel used the Arts and Crafts for public spaces, exterior cabana ceiling and guest rooms.
Arts and Crafts 36″ x 36″
Arts and Crafts 24″ x 24″
Arts and Crafts with modern moulding for a 12″ x 30″
In some sizes we also had the whole in the border which was a carry over from the controls in the antique grilles.
“Time is one of the few things a man cannot influence. We all have a desire to create something that will show we were here. That we did something of value. Of course, timeless design is wasted if it cannot survive.” Ferdinand Anton Ernst Porche
Thanks to technology and a continued demand for this handsome decorative grille style we acquired the skills to scan the antique grilles and use 3D software to create the masters for the 70 sizes we offer today.
Here is our Arts and Crafts Decorative Grille in a 24″ x 24″ today.
We have maintained the integrity of the original carvings. Actually we have surpassed it in that castings made with sand were very grainy.
Not only have we maintained the integrity of the original carvings, we use an exterior grade resin appropriate for exterior applications such as foundation crawl space grilles. They will not rust, rot or corrode. They are maintenance free. You should not need to repaint, remove rust, corrosion or mold for the life of the grilles.
Foundation Vent Cover in Arts and Crafts Style
Tuttle & Baileys original intention was to create decorative grilles which would camouflage radiators and not “disfigure the room”. Beaux-Arts Classic Products grilles are heat cured and perfect for transforming an unattractive radiator. Add a handsome radiator cover with our any of our decorative grilles. We have sizes for all radiators and designs ready for inspiration for your perfect radiator makeover.
Our decorative grilles are intended for forced air heating and air conditioning systems as either return air grilles or supply vents. Use them to replace noisy HVAC louvered vents since they won’t make noise. Resin does not vibrate. Other uses are as speaker grilles in home theaters and historic theaters, or in-wall and in-ceiling speaker covers.
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