Friday, April 29, 2011

End of the Line for Typewriters

Darwin D. Martin's office (whether at home or in the Larkin building) was filled with the clack-clacking sound of a manual typewriter, pounding out hundreds of letters to Frank Lloyd Wright.  Wright's return correspondence was a mixed bag of handwritten and typewritten text, but the fastidious DDM almost always typed his letters, and regularly kept carbon copies of his outgoing correspondence as well.  This week marks the final clack of the manual typewriter era with the last remaining producer of such machines ending production.

The earliest mention of Martin's typewriter use is in his journal, where he notes:  "JDL (John D. Larkin) & Co have a typewriter and I tried out the new fangled thing in the evening." (entry of April 6, 1882).  Martin most likely acquired his own typewriter for the Bursar's office of the Martin House, c. 1905 (if not earlier), and the MHRC is in search of a period machine to grace the reconstructed desk in that space.

The remaining stock of manual typewriters produced by the Indian company Godrej & Boyce (about 200) are for sale - and going fast, no doubt.  Wouldn't you love one to complement that old dot matrix printer? 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tune in to MHRCTV

Check out our new YouTube channel, "MHRCTV" for video clips of restoration in progress, and a growing list of favorites from the surprisingly large array of Martin House videos already online.

No sneezing baby pandas here, but hey, we got plaster...

Twombly, Sullivan and Wright

by Daniel Kuether, curatorial intern

The opportunity to hear a top Wright scholar is coming to Buffalo.  Come out and support the Graycliff Conservancy as they host a lecture by Dr. Robert Twombly on Thursday, April 21st at 7 PM in the auditorium of the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

Photo by Bernhard Wagner, fotoGrafix
A widely published author, Dr. Twombly has written numerous times on American architecture.  His books include; Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life & His Architecture, Toward An American Utopia: Social Thought, Iconography, and the Drawings of Louis Sullivan, and Power and Style: A Critique of Twentieth Century Architecture in the United States.  He has also edited collections of Louis Sullivan’s and Frederick Law Olmstead’s private and public documents.

Dr. Twombly’s lecture will discuss the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan and the effect this relationship had on the architecture of both men. Dr. Twombly received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and is currently a professor at the City University of New York.

This is an excellent chance to learn from an influential scholar on the life and work of Sullivan and Wright.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Great Martin House Post on BR This Week

Buffalo Rising

Going for the Gold(ish-green)

A front-runner has emerged in our marathon search to find the perfect replacement carpet for the restored Martin House interior.

Frank Lloyd Wright specified carpeting for the first floor of the Martin House in a comprehensive plan (c. 1905, in the collection of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt); the Fuermann photos of the interior (1907) indicate that this plan was executed faithfully in a series of plush, solid-colored area rugs.  Surviving samples of this original wool carpeting are an elusive golden-green color that has been difficult to match with color palettes today. But, thanks to the expert assistance of David Tiftickjian & Sons and Roche & Company, we've identified a match that's closer than we could have hoped.

The preferred carpet is made by Bentley, with the appropriately organic color name of "Leaf."  The sample looks right at home with the existing palette of floor tile, brick, woodwork and wall finishes in the house.  The final decision has not yet been made to order this carpet, but it's comfortably close to "taking the floor" of the Martin House this October. 

Picture This

Bernie Wagner, fotoGrafix
Have you taken a great photo of the Martin House?  Got a sublime shot of Wright's "well nigh perfect composition?"  Submit your best photo of the Martin House, Barton House, Greatbatch Pavilion or other favorite landmark to CEPA Gallery's expanded, online Visions of Greater Buffalo. 

CEPA's 100 Visionaries' photographs will be presented for sale at the Visions of Greater Buffalo, 2011 Gala & Silent auction, May 19 in the Market Arcade.  But this year, the Gallery's inviting everyone to be a part of Visions of Greater Buffalo! 

Photos will be streamed throughout the Market Arcade Building during the gala Auction Event, and can be viewed on the CEPA Gallery website in the weeks before and after the event.


Photograph your best color "vision" of Greater Buffalo (please, no  people or pets).

CEPA wants to see your view of Greater Buffalo, so please send "unaltered" photos - no Photoshop, alteration filters or other enhancements.

Only one submission per person.

Upload your photo through the CEPA Gallery website at 

By emailing your photo to CEPA, you agree to the Terms of Use.

Photos must be JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg) digital format, at least 1,000 pixels wide if a horizontal image or 1,000 pixels tall if a vertical image, and the file size may not be more than 5 megabytes.

CEPA Gallery reserves the right to refuse publication of any photographs it deems obscene, provocative, insensitive or otherwise inappropriate.

The DEADLINE for all submissions is May 1, 2011.

Friday, April 1, 2011

More on Erie County's funding initiative for the Martin House on BUFFALO RISING.

A Tree, a Pitt and a Penn

Although the name is a coincidence, the film looks sufficiently architectural, Transcendental - and for that matter, Oedipal - to be of interest to Frank Lloyd Wright fans.