by Elizabeth Broman and Parsons Masters Program student Margaret Gaines
This Schmitz-Horning Co. wall decoration catalogue from 1913-1914 is one of the Cooper Hewitt Design Library’s many trade catalogues. Schmitz-Horning Co. opened in 1905 as a wallpaper and mural manufacturing firm in Cleveland, Ohio. The company focused on making large, wallpaper friezes (murals) and was one of the first companies to develop a washable, color wallpaper printed with oils that you cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge.
San-kro-mura, one of the original “sanitary” wall coverings, were easy to clean without their colors fading.
The muted colors and illustrative style of the Arts & Crafts movement period are featured in this color trade catalog from 1912-13. The company produced panoramic views of mountains, deserts, forests, lakes, and scenic narratives of folklore and history. The catalog states they make possible “Art in the Home.”
Wallcoverings for children’s rooms featured the Wizard of Oz, nursery rhymes, and motifs with dolls. The Cooper Hewitt Museum owns 111 pieces from the Schmitz-Horning Co., two of which are from the time period shown in this catalog. The frieze Kindergarten Cut-outs, was in the 2007 exhibition “Wall Stories: Children’s Wallpapers and Books”.
Reprinted from the Cooper Hewitt’s Object of the Day blog, December 17, 2017.