In November 2013 we posted “Old Mission Kopper Kraft.” At the time we were unaware of Fred Brosi as the craftsman responsible for those bookends. The 2013 publication, Bay Area Copper, 1900/1950, Dirk van Erp & His Influence, alerted us to Brosi’s time as a metalsmith in California. His career spanned from Quincy, IL, where he obtained at least 3 patents related to metal working, to working in a shipyard in San Francisco Bay, to establishing a series of decorative metalworks craft shops in San Francisco. Those Bay Area businesses included Ye Olde Copper Shop, Ye Olde Copper Shoppe and Old Mission Kopper Kraft. Following the folding of the Old Mission Kopper Kraft company (1922-1925), Brosi continued to make beautifully crafted metal decorative objects in his basement. The 2 pairs of Bookends seen in this post are from this later period of Brosi’s work, 1927 -1933.
Brosi is admired for his meticulous handwork on his metal pieces, and this pair of copper bookends, called Nouveau Flower is a fitting illustration of his expertise. The face is hammered and linear designs are chased into the margins and the edges. Parts of the edges are curled. A enameled flower with raised edges and with petals painted red, yellow and green is attached to the face. The overall artistic design was Brosi’s and the flower petals were painted by Brosi’s wife, the former Selma Sidlowski.
The smaller Owl on Branch copper bookends were produced by Brosi in his basement about the same time as the enameled flower ones, and they bear the same Arm and Hammer and MADE BY HAND mark. They show similar curling at parts of the edges, similar hammering, and similar linear designs. The ornamental metal owl on a branch is attached to the face of the bookend.
Other related posts are: San Francisco Bay Area Metalworkers Colony, Jan. 7, 2014 and Ye Olde Copper Shoppe Bookends, Jan 13, 2014.