G. Krug & Son Ironworks and Museum
America's Oldest Operating Ironworks
"There is hardly a building in Baltimore that doesn't contain something we made, even if it is only a nail," boasts Theodore Krug, heir to the oldest continuously working iron shop in the country. G. Krug & Son is one of the oldest companies in Baltimore, and the oldest ironworks factory in the country. These ironworks have been in operation without interruption, at the same location, since 1810. At that time, it was operated by Augustus Schwatka who was listed in the Baltimore Directory of 1810 as Schwatka, Augustus, blacksmith, corner of Saratoga St. and Short Alley. The firm changed hands in 1830, when it was sold to Andrew Merker. It was then listed as Merker, A., Locksmith and Bell Hanger, Eutaw St. and Saratoga. Today, the profession of "bell hanger" combined with "locksmith" may sound strange; however, in the year 1831 it made sense as more and more churches were being built. Gustav Krug came to Baltimore in 1848 and worked under Merker, but quickly advanced to foreman, then partner of the company. Upon the death of Andrew Merker in 1871, Gustav Krug became the sole proprietor, and "A. Merker & Krug" became "G. Krug & Son" in 1875. By the late nineteenth century, the company records listed the most important jobs as Johns Hopkins Hospital, Emanuel Church, Otterbein Church, and one of Baltimore's most famous landmarks, "The Fountain Inn." The bill for the Fountain Inn at the time was $524.00 for 262 feet of plain railing and $475.65 for 151 feet of fancy railing. The Krugs' signature "Otterbein Style" has become synonymous with Baltimore history and can be seen on many buildings throughout the city. While the company keeps a steady flow of new work, it also restores the work made by its predecessors. G. Krug & Son is one of the few companies left in Baltimore that can state it helped in building the city. Today, the company is run by 5th generation Peter Krug.
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