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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Provenance
  • Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Funding
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Materials
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Edward G. Trinkkeller Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1896-1999 (bulk 1905-1945)
    Date (bulk):
    Collection number: MS 097
    Creator: Trinkkeller, Edward G., 1872-1945
    Abstract: Gustaf Edward Trinkkeller was born in Germany in 1872 and immigrated to the United States about 1890 where he began a successful career in Los Angeles as a craftsman in decorative wrought ironwork. This collection of family papers, office records, and photographs documents his artistry and his extensive client list. This included producing ironwork for publisher William Randolph Hearst at his San Simeon estate where Trinkkeller collaborated with architect Julia Morgan; correspondence and photographs within the collection document their work together. Other noteworthy clients were oil magnate Edward Doheny; comedian Will Rogers; movie producer Cecil B. DeMille; and other well–to–do Southern Californians during the period 1896-1942, as reflected in Trinkkeller's original account ledgers. Once established in the U.S., he went by the name Edward G. Trinkkeller. His heirs donated his papers to Cal Poly in 2002.
    Extent: 8 boxes
    Language: English
    Repository: Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93407


    Donated by his heirs in 2002, the collection is housed in and administered by Special Collections at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by appointment only. For more information on access policies and to obtain a copy of the Researcher Registration form, please visit the Special Collections Access page. Collection stored remotely. Advance notice for use required.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    In order to reproduce, publish, broadcast, exhibit, and/or quote from this material, researchers must submit a written request and obtain formal permission from Special Collections, Cal Poly, as the owner of the physical collection. Researchers should also consult with an appropriate staff member regarding literary or other intellectual property rights pertaining to this collection.
    Photocopying of material is permitted at staff discretion and provided on a fee basis. Photocopies are not to be used for any purpose other than for private study, scholarship, or research. Special Collections reserves the right to limit photocopying and deny access or reproduction in cases when, in the opinion of staff, the original materials would be harmed.

    Preferred Citation

    Edward G. Trinkkeller Papers, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
    Abbreviations Used:
    c.: circa
    n.d.: no date
    l.f.:linear feet


    The National Endowment for the Humanities, along with matching funds from California Polytechnic State University, has generously funded the arrangement and description of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Architectural ironwork
    Architecture, Domestic--California--San Simeon
    Artisans--California--Los Angeles
    Artisans--California--San Simeon
    Arts and crafts movement--California--Exhibitions
    Decorative arts--California--Exhibitions
    Doheny, Edward Laurence, 1856-1935--Homes and haunts--California
    Farquhar, Robert David--Correspondence
    Gage, William J--Correspondence
    Harrison, D. F.--Correspondence
    Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951--Correspondence
    Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951--Homes and haunts--California
    Johnson, Reginald D.--Correspondence
    Loorz, George--Correspondence
    Los Angeles Examiner Building--Architecture
    Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957--Career in Architecture
    Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957--Exhibitions
    Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957--Correspondence
    Neff, Wallace--Correspondence
    Orthopedic Hospital--Los Angeles, CA--Architecture
    Rogers, Will, 1879-1935--Homes and haunts--California
    Rossi, Camille C.--Correspondence
    St. John's Seminary--Camarillo, CA--Architecture
    San Simeon Ranch (Calif.)--History
    Singleton Court--Los Angeles, CA--Architecture
    Singleton, John--Homes and haunts--California
    Trinkkeller, Edward G., 1872-1945
    Trinkkeller, Edward G., 1872-1945--Exhibitions
    Trinkkeller, Marie Vorweck

    Genre and Forms of Materials

    Family papers.
    Business records.

    Related Materials

    Related Collections
    Special Collections, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo:
    Julia Morgan Papers (MS 10)
    Julia Morgan Papers: Series 9.A. Earl and Wright, Consulting Engineers (MS 125)
    Julia Morgan-Walter T. Steilberg Collection (MS 144) ca. 1910-1974 (1973-1)
    Sara Holmes Boutelle Papers, 1972-1999 (MS 141)
    Camille Solon Collection, 1900-1952 (MS 106)

    Biographical Note

    Gustaf Edward Trinkkeller was born in Germany in 1872 and immigrated to the United States around the age of 18, after completing an apprenticeship in ornamental ironwork. He established a thriving practice in Los Angeles as an artisan in decorative ironwork for publisher William Randolph Hearst, oil magnate Edward Doheny, comedian Will Rogers, movie producer Cecil B. DeMille, and other well-to-do Southern Californians.
    Trinkkeller set up his own metalsmithing workshop at 8th Street and Broadway in Los Angeles in 1896. He later relocated to 1720 South Main Street, where he maintained his workshop until his retirement in 1942. Once established in California, he went by the name Edward G. Trinkkeller. He promoted his business as "Ed Trinkkeller, Manufacturer of Ornamental Iron Work."
    In 1915, Trinkkeller crafted an elaborate grille and other ornamental ironwork for the main lobby for publisher William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner building, which was designed by architect Julia Morgan. In 1921, Morgan asked Trinkkeller to produce ornamental ironwork for Hearst's estate at San Simeon. Trinkkeller worked for the next 14 years to craft window and bookcase grilles, fireplace screens and utensils, gates, lighting fixtures, and other significant pieces in iron for San Simeon.
    To appreciate the skill of wrought iron artisans like Ed Trinkkeller, one must note the difference between the production of wrought iron and cast iron, which are often confused. Wrought iron consists of bending, cutting, or hammering (usually heated, but sometimes cold) rods or sheets of iron into curves, leaves, dragonheads, and other fanciful shapes as directly manipulated by the metalsmith. In contrast, cast ironwork entails the pouring of molten iron into previously designed and fabricated molds. The hammering necessary to the production of wrought iron has the added benefit of pounding out impurities in the iron, making it stronger and more resistant to rust. Wrought iron is then coated with a layer of tung oil or other similar protectant, which brings out the natural luster of the metal. Cast iron has a higher carbon content, which makes it very vulnerable to rust, necessitating periodic coats of paint.
    In 1925, four years into his collaboration with Morgan, Trinkkeller undertook an extensive journey to research historic wrought ironwork in Germany, France, Austria, Great Britain, and Italy. In Spain, he toured sites with ornamental Spanish ironwork with Arthur and Mildred Stapley Byne, curators and dealers who purchased art for Hearst. Trinkkeller's research notebook from this trip is included in the collection.
    One of Trinkkeller's masterpieces is a pair of gates designed by Morgan for the entrance to Casa del Sol guesthouse ("C" House) at San Simeon. Trinkkeller used repoussé, the process of ornamenting metallic surfaces with designs in relief hammered out from the back by hand, to produce 26 unique profiles of his fellow artisans at San Simeon. Trinkkeller included his own image, complete with ever-present goatee, in the center row at the bottom of the north gate.
    Among the many commissions from Mrs. Edward L. Doheny were the large entrance gate to her Chester Place estate and 34 window grilles for the Doheny Memorial Library at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, California. Trinkkeller's grandson, Paul E. Trinkkeller, who helped in the metal shop from 1938 to 1941 while attending UCLA, worked on this large commission.
    When not creating ironwork for his distinguished list of clients, Trinkkeller would make bowls, sconces, tables, and other items for family members and friends. His own home at 208 South Highland in Los Angeles had decorative grilles on windows. Ed Trinkkeller also liked to work in copper and brass and in a variety of styles, from Beaux Arts to Arts and Crafts.
    Trinkkeller closed his business in 1942 and died September 6, 1945, at the age of 73. His wife, Marie, their children, Elsa and Edward P., and two grandsons survived him.
    Other clients included:
    Beverly Wilshire Hotel
    William H. Bliss, Montecito, Calif.
    California Furniture Co.
    F. W. Flint
    J. J. Haggarty
    A. E. Hanson
    Harold Lloyd
    Thomas C. Marlowe
    Mrs. Antonio Moreno
    Pasadena Furniture Co.
    Charles S. Quinn
    J. W. Robinson
    Will Rogers
    Santa Barbara Club
    John Singleton Estate
    W. and J. Sloan
    New York Cloak and Suit House
    Victor Hugo Restaurant, Laguna, Calif.
    "A Beautiful Street." Los Angeles Times 5 Sept. 1909: V22.
    "Edward G. Trinkkeller." [obituary] Los Angeles Times 8 Sept. 1945: 5.
    Edward G. Trinkkeller Papers, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
    "Tourist Cars Still Running." Los Angeles Times 9 Nov. 1913: ST1.

    Scope and Content Note

    The Edward G. Trinkkeller Papers contains the family papers, office records, and photographs of the work of wrought ironwork artisan Gustaf Edward Trinkkeller. After immigrating to the United States from Germany, he began using the names Edward G. Trinkkeller or Ed Trinkkeller.
    Project files are organized by the client's name (either a surname or a company name). Because architect Julia Morgan subcontracted with Trinkkeller for the work on W. R. Hearst's San Simeon, the files relating to that project are filed under Morgan, not Hearst. Most of the correspondence includes original letters; others are transcripts of originals, which were typed by Trinkkeller's daughter, Elsa.
    Where possible, the provenance, or original organization, of the papers has been preserved. However, in order to simplify access to the collection for researchers, some materials in specific formats and topics were reorganized and refoldered to more accurately reflect their contents.
    There are five series in the Edward G. Trinkkeller Papers:
    1. Personal Papers
    2. Professional Papers
    3. Office Records
    4. Project Records
    5. Career Assessment
    The collection is housed in 8 boxes, with Series 3 Office Records and Series 4 Project Files containing the most extensive portions of the collection.