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Terra Cotta

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Roving Rube

July 26, 2003

560-66 Broadway

1883-84, Thomas Stent; New York City Landmark.
Boston Terra Cotta Company. Brick with terra-cotta ornament. Industrial converted to commercial.
(Source: "Terra-Cotta Skyline", by Susan Tunick). Building in context.

When the Rube selected the above as the picture of the day he thought that both the ornate window frames and the central column capital were terra cotta. But then he read in one of his books that the frames are cast iron ... and looking closely, he can make out the rust stains on the bottom right-hand one.

That leaves only the capital! Which he still thinks is terra cotta because of the deeper relief and "factory fresh" crisp edges. Buuuuuuuutttttt ... maybe all the original stone capitals melted down over the years and these are fiberglass replacements! They sure don't look 120 years old. ...Or maybe it's that "sandcast" stuff they make the toy dogs and cats out of .

He also has doubts now about 2-jpg, the cornice, which he likes for what seems like modernistic detail resembling locomotive wheels and gearshafts. But aren't cornices made of metal?

This leaves 3-jpg, the frieze, which he is quite sure is terra cotta. Subject to expert review, this may end up becoming the featured picture and this text revised, so that you'd never know the Rube still doesn't know what terra cotta is. But when you're dealing with something that is so good at looking like other things, it means that those other things can start looking like it!

All content �2003 on behalf of its creators.

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