Anchor Plates in Lviv

Anchor plates are ubiquitous in Lviv as they are on most of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings in the city. Anchor plates (also called wall washers, pattress plates, masonry stars, etc.) are used to reinforce the structure of masonry buildings. Made from cast or wrought iron, these plates are connected to […]

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boot scraper

The Forgotten Boot Scrapers of Lviv

Many years ago I started noticing strange-looking metal objects near certain doors in Lviv. I didn’t give them much thought until I saw one in Przemyśl, Poland, and my friend told me what it was: a boot scraper. Little did I know that this was the start of a new […]

Boot Scrapers in Oxford

In addition to its abundance of beautiful architecture, famous colleges and courtyards, spires, museums, and canals, Oxford also has its fair share of lovely boot scrapers. In a quiet residential area, I stumbled across a long street filled with boot scrapers — almost every one with a unique shape. But they […]

Plant Hangers in Lviv

These metal curiosities found on many of Lviv’s balconies are plant hangers. Most remain unused these days, but some people still use them to decorate their balconies and courtyards with beautiful flowers. Others have found new purposes for them. Repurposed to dry shoes

Carriage Curbs in Lviv

In many of Lviv’s old buildings there is a carriage entrance way, a driveway which led from the street to the courtyard for carriages to pass through. Along the sides of the entranceway there is an elevated platform, which acted as a sort of sidewalk for people to be able […]

Hoisting Beams: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is beaming with hoisting beams. Previously I associated hoisting beams solely with old merchant’s homes, but unlike other port cities where I’ve seen them, in Amsterdam they are found not only on the old canal houses, but all over the city, including on ordinary residential buildings. Due to fifteenth […]

Servant’s Quarters in Prewar Lviv Building

I suppose it was common for buildings in Lviv’s center and wealthier neighborhoods to have the architectural infrastructure for servants who lived with the families. These now largely antiquated architectural elements would have included a servant staircase, sleeping quarters, and a separate wash area. Fortunately, the planning of my apartment […]

Hoisting Beams: Stockholm

Many of Stockholm’s old buildings, especially in the Old Town, used to serve as storehouses/merchants’ houses, and thus remnants of the hoist systems can still be found.

Anchor Plates: Stockholm

Stockholm has a wide range of anchor plates — of all shapes and sizes, spanning back at least to the seventeenth century. My favorite is the one that looks like an owl: A collage of the various kinds of plates that can be found in Stockholm:  I found several examples […]

Sundial on Stable in Lviv

Hidden behind a tall fence at the end of a small street in Kastelivka stands a villa called “Julietka.” It was built for private use in 1891-1893 by Julian Zachariewicz and his son Alfred, two famous Lviv architects. Next to the villa is an old stable with a sundial.

Merchants’ Hoisting Beams in Riga

Although not nearly to the same extent as in Tallinn, remnants of the merchants’ hoisting mechanisms remain on several of the medieval houses in Riga. A granary from the 18th century