Mel Rose and Rose Iron Works

The Rose Iron Works, opened in 1904 on Cleveland's east side. The oldest continually-operating decorative metalwork company in the United States, it was founded by Martin Rose, a Hungarian immigrant who worked in Budapest and Vienna before moving to Cleveland.

Rose provided craft metalwork that adorned many of Cleveland's notable dwellings and buildings during the height of the city's growth. The works included fanciful dividing screens at Halle's as well as the decorative iron gates that guarded many of the Millionaire's Row estates on Euclid Avenue. Informed by European ornamental beaux-arts architecture, Rose worked in the tradition of other craft ironworkers such as Samuel Yellin.

Even as the market for ornamental ironwork began to decline as a result of changing styles and the Depression, Rose Iron Works thrived. During the 1930s, the Rose Iron Works produced some of the most notable Art Deco ironwork in the nation, including styling recognized internationally for their uniquely American characteristics.

The company turned to the production of industrial products during World War II- an activity that now dominates its business-but it never forsook the craft and metalworking traditions of 19th century Europe.

Video

"I don't have blood in my veins, I have rust"
Mel Rose describes how the family business is run. ~ Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
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"Anything that can be drawn, can be done"
Mel Rose describes the company's design process and client services. ~ Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
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Wartime "Rube Goldbergs"
Mel Rose describes how the company survived the rationing of metals during World War II. ~ Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
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Images

Audio

The Philosophy Of Mel Rose
Melvin Rose explains his approach to design
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Art Deco And The Great Depression
Melvin Rose recalls his father's idea to bring a new style of ironwork design to Cleveland
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A Mural Story
Ironworker Melvin Rose recalls a work he struggled to complete as a young artisan
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Map

1536 East 43rd Street, Cleveland, OH 44103