Scope and Contents
This collection includes pattern boards (design molds) and metal castings of architectural details such as stair rails, fencing, and other metalwork ornaments manufactured by Weber Iron & Wire Company from the 1930's to the 1990's. Some were designed by architects John F. Staub and Birdsall P. Briscoe. The collection also includes photographs, architectural drawings, reference books, and tools used in the manufacturing process, along with invoices from the company from 1933 to 1987.
1909 - 2019
Majority of material found within 1930 - 1990
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research. An appointment must be requested to view this collection. Please call the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conditions Governing Access
Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center AND boxes 1-23 off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via email@example.com or call 713-348-2586.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.
Biographical / Historical
WEBER IRON & WIRE COMPANY. The company was a fabricator of high-quality custom architectural details in metal and other materials. Founded in the late 1920's by Herman Weber as Weber Iron Works, Weber Iron & Wire Company became instrumental in creating original designs and duplications of fine nineteenth-century ornamental ironwork and metalwork for the projects of many of Houston's leading architects and builders, most notably John F. Staub and Birdsall P. Briscoe. Gustav Reimers, a vice-president of the company and son-in-law to Herman Weber, spearheaded this part of the operations of the company until his death in 1942. The son of the founder, George Weber, joined the firm in 1938 and worked there until 1982, earning a Craftsman Award in 1957 from the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Jim Weber, the grandson of the founder, joined the firm in 1965 and presided over the company until its sale in 2008. In order to produce the exceptional metalwork exactly as specified by the designs of the architects, scale and full-sized drawings of the designs were created. Some designs were forged by hand. Most were created by a detailed process including the formation of a replica of the design in clay which is cast in aluminum and placed on a pattern board used to make the final castings in iron, bronze, or aluminum. The body of work produced by Weber enriched Houston's heritage for the greater part of the 20th century, and continues to be admired in many of Houston's architectural treasures.
BRISCOE, BIRDSALL PARMENAS (1876–1971). Birdsall P. Briscoe, architect, was born on June 10, 1876, in Harrisburg, Texas; he attended the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Texas A&M University), and the University of Texas.
He learned architecture through apprenticeships with the Houston architects C. Lewis Wilson and Lewis Sterling Green. After a brief partnership with Green (1909–11), Briscoe began independent practice in 1912. From 1922 until 1926 he was in partnership with Sam H. Dixon, Jr; from 1919 until his retirement in 1955, Briscoe shared an office with Maurice J. Sullivan. Briscoe was best known for his elegantly composed and detailed houses; his finest houses, designed between 1926 and 1940, exhibit the array of historical architectural styles characteristic of American eclectic architecture and are distinguished by the architect's gift for harmonious proportion and full-bodied ornamental detail. He worked extensively in the Houston neighborhoods of Courtlandt Place, Shadyside, Broadacres, and River Oaks. Briscoe joined the American Institute of Architects in 1921 and was elected a fellow of the institute in 1949. He died in Houston on September 18, 1971, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Goliad.
Information taken from the Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbrbw), accessed July 19, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
STAUB, JOHN FANZ (1892–1981). John Fanz Staub, architect, was born at Knoxville, Tennessee, on September 12, 1892. He attended the University of Tennessee (class of 1913), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he received a master's degree in architecture in 1916. From 1916 to 1921 Staub worked in New York for Harrie Thomas Lindeberg, an architect well known for his country houses. In 1921, when he was sent to Texas to supervise the construction of three houses that Lindeberg had designed in the Houston neighborhood of Shadyside, Staub decided to remain in Houston, and in 1923 he established his own practice there. From 1923 until 1942 he worked under his own name. He reorganized his firm as Staub and Rather in 1942, and as Staub, Rather and Howze in 1952. He retired from active practice in 1963. Staub was a cofounder of the South Texas chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1924 and served as the chapter's second president. In 1941 he was elected to fellowship in the AIA. During the 1920s he employed the full range of romantic European vernacular styles then in vogue for his domestic architecture. After the early 1930s, however, he displayed a consistent preference for more restrained architectural styles, especially Georgian Revival.
From the beginning of his career, Staub was identified with the Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. His first independent commission in Houston was for the River Oaks Country Club (1924, demolished). Staub was retained to design Bayou Bend (1928), the house of Ima Hogg. Between 1924 and 1958 Staub designed thirty-one houses in River Oaks (including his own of 1926). Concentrations of houses by Staub also occur in the Houston neighborhood of Broadacres. He died on April 13, 1981, and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.
Information taken from the Handbook of Texas Online, (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst94), accessed July 19, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
100 Linear Feet ( (85 boxes plus oversized materials))
1.06 Gigabytes (Nearline archival information package MS0586aip_001, containing files for the Weber-Staub-Briscoe architectural collection: 1909-2010 catalog, and a detailed inventory of the collection)
.216 Megabytes (Nearline archival information package MS0586aip_002, containing audio files of an oral history of Jimmy Weber taken during a tour of the Weber-Staub-Briscoe architectural ironwork collection (MS 586) on April 14, 2016, and the transcript of the recordings. )
1.01 Gigabytes (Nearline archival information package MS0586aip_003, containing video files of the history of the Weber/Reimer family created in 2019.)
Language of Materials