Throughout the years, advancements in technology have changed the ways metal is created, cut and designed. Today, many products can be manufactured through computer designs and machine implementation – but this wasn’t always the case. The 1920s was a period of change for America and Western Europe with the birth of new technology, a rebellious spirit and avant-garde practices. The impact of the 1920s on metal crafting was instrumental in the creation of today’s practices.
Coco Architectural has been in the metal fabrication industry for almost a century and has adjusted to the various advancements along the way. Between 1909 and 1930, our business made many developments in machinery, techniques and the products we fabricated.
Coco Brothers Inc. was established in 1909 with a focus on brass and bronze ornamental metal products. Rosario, Joseph and Jacob Coco developed their metal fabrication skillsets, growing the business with the launch of new products in 1927. These products included votive candelabras, communion rails and sanctuary ramps for churches nationwide. The launch of the Coco Brass Shower Door saw immense success as it was adopted by exclusive residences and all upscale New York City hotels throughout the end of the 1920s and the entirety of the 1930s. Our growth and developments in product design continuously correlate with the metal trends of the time.
1920s metal trends
The Art Deco style permeated the 1920s with its pastiche of styles, materials, shapes and influences. Focused on forward momentum and modern progress, Art Deco pulled from the “ahead of its time” traditions of the avant-garde movement and geometric shapes to create modern designs. After it was introduced to the United States in the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower design, it became one of the most commonly used styles in American architecture in the 1920s.
Simplicity was introduced to architectural designs through the rising of the Modernist trend of the 1920s. Beginning in Europe and slowly moving to the United States, the goal of modernist architecture was to create harmony between form and function without excessive embellishments.
Metal trends followed these major architectural movements through their incorporation into the exterior, interior and functional elements of construction. Buildings, such as skyscrapers, began to pair stainless steel and aluminum with Art Deco geometry in their exterior designs to enhance prestige and draw attention skyward.
Developments in metalworking in the 1920s
The American Welding Society was formed in 1919 by the Wartime Welding Committee to promote the advancement of welding and other allied processes. Electrode technology for welding and metal fabrication developed with the introduction of the coated electrode by the A.O. Smith Corporation. The coated electrode shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process was further developed by the Lincoln Electric Company and became regularly used by the late 1920s.
The Lincoln Electric Company mass produced coated electrodes that improved the usability through an extrusion coating procedure to protect the electrodes from the atmosphere during the coating process.
Metalwork advancements since 1929
Automatic welding machines were developed and more widely used in the 1930s for projects such as steel construction and the fabrication of building floors. Innovation in welding grew alongside transportation advancements by welding submarines, automobiles and ships.
In 1965, the first laser for metal production was launched by Western Electric. In 1967, this idea was expanded upon by Peter Houldcroft, who created a laser-cutting nozzle with a CO2 laser beam and oxygen assist gas for industrial metal cutting. CO2 laser cutting systems did not become commercially available until 1975.
Today’s laser cutting equipment uses high power optics and micro-positioning systems, among other functional features. Here at Coco Architectural, we stay on top of the metal crafting trends by pairing our century-old knowledge and experience with top-of-the-line equipment and safety features. Whether you need a linear bar grille, perforated metal grille or custom metal product, our team is ready to help you find the perfect solution for your project. Download our product catalog or request a quote for more information.