Monday, March 8, 2010

The World's First Porcelain Enamel House

Ferro steel-enamel house

This house, at 2077 Campus Drive, in South Euclid, is the first porcelain enamel house in the world. It was built by the Ferro Corporation in 1932 as an experimental model home. The architect was Charles Bacon Rowley.

Enameled steel or porcelain enamel was a new product in the late 1920s and early 1930s, used primarily for appliances like stoves. Ferro built this house to showcase some other potential applications. The design was said to be fireproof, which was a major selling point, used extensively in the promotion of this residence.

This structure has tremendous historic significance. It was a major new idea in both housing and manufacturing, in a city that was still an industrial giant. While this wasn't indicative of where we have headed in residential construction, it was influential. Another house made of steel was completed in Solon soon after. Ferro built, with Rowley as architect, this well documented house for the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933, based on a similar design. Others tried their hand at this building material. After World War II, Lustron, of Columbus, Ohio, built prefabricated steel enamel homes and shipped them nationwide.

This house has been altered considerably, with a new roof, replacement windows, and changes to the chimneys. Most significantly, the enameled exterior has been covered with vinyl siding.


  1. Charles Rowley was brilliant before his time and a graduate of MIT.

  2. This house is for sale.....