Founded in 1915, the Amity Leather Products Company specialized in billfolds and handbags. It first prospered, however, when it landed a contract to make leather vests for the armed forces during World War I. By 1924, the company had grown sufficiently to build this factory, whose Moderne lines became even more apparent with the completion of the tower in 1929. Dolke, of Chicago, created a composition of flat-roofed brown brick blocks that step up to dramatize the tower’s verticality. Stepped buttresses and pilasters ascend to the tower’s full height. But whereas the tower seems to soar, the building’s broad wings anchor the structure to the ground. The wings incorporate large banks of windows crossed with steel muntins; these expanses of glass comprise awning and center-pivoting sashes for ventilation. Workers needed natural light to supplement incandescent lighting. Generous windows also reflected Progressive Era beliefs that workers’ health and workplace sanitation demanded plenty of natural light and fresh air.
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Amity Leather Products Building
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