Period Style Hardware

Period Style & Antique or Vintage Hardware

Second Empire Architecture

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     The Second Empire architectural style was named after the French-inspired elements that appeared during the Second French Empire.  The style was at the height of its popularity between 1865 and 1880, and while it was most popular in the United States, a variation can be seen in parts of France where it is called the Napoleon III Style.  The Second Empire style has many elements specific to this time period, but, just like with any other style, some of the elements were influenced by other architectural time periods, like the Gothic Revival and Italianate styles.

     In the United States, the style tends to be portrayed through rectangular towers with a steep mansard roof, which is the most typical of the French style from which it was derived.   Most often, these roof crests have an iron trim, and sometimes they also have decorative lightening rods attached.  The façade of the home is generally composed of wood, brick, or stone, and may also have paired columns.  Most of the floor plans for Second Empire houses fit one of two styles: symmetrical with the tower in the middle or asymmetrical with the tower off to one side.  Just like many things French, the more elaborately decorated and expensive-looking the better!

     While there are a multitude of homes that were constructed in this style during the height of popularity, and most are still standing, the majority of the more well-known buildings are commercial properties, or government ones.  In fact, so many government buildings were constructed during President Grant’s time in office that they were actually said to be created in the “General Grant Style”, rather than the Second Empire.  The reason that so many large buildings were constructed in the Second Empire style is due to the versatility of their size.

 

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Written by antiqueswriter

June 15, 2011 at 9:42 am

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