Posts Tagged ‘Jacob Mark ironworks’

The most beautiful manhole covers in Manhattan

October 15, 2012

This site is a big fan of the 19th century cast-iron covers that dot the city’s streets and sidewalks—covers that once opened into utility holes or coal chutes.

Many survive to this day, some quite decorative and inventive.

But perhaps the loveliest of all are those built with ornamental design and colored vault lights—small bubbles of glass that allowed sunlight into the underground space.

Jacob Mark (later Jacob Mark Sons) was a leading manufacturer of vault lights and architectural iron work in the late 1800s. His whimsical covers—patented in 1870—with their six-sided stars still glitter a little when the sun catches the glass the right way.

The top one is on Waverly Place and MacDougal Street; the bottom cover, Madison Avenue and 37th Street.

More examples of Jacob Mark’s vault lights can be found here.

Manhole covers that left their mark on the city

May 31, 2012

Not everyone would agree that these cast-iron lids qualify as art. But there’s a certain beauty to the design of some 19th century examples still found all over New York.

This cover, spotted in Tribeca, looks like it hasn’t been opened since the neighborhood was the butter and eggs district.

It’s by Jacob Mark, “one of the oldest manufacturers of architectural iron work in the country,” states his 1904 obituary in The New York Times.

J.B. and J.M. Cornell goes all the way back to 1828, though it’s unclear exactly when this Chelsea manhole cover, with its low-key ornamental touches, was made.

Stars were a popular motif on manhole covers, like this one, found on West 145th Street. The McDougall and Potter foundry must have been quite an operation on far West 55th Street back in the day.