Samuel Yellin: Restoring Historic Ironwork

Samuel Yellin: Restoring Historic Ironworks

Rachel Miller and Timothy Miller of Spirit Ironworks in Bayport, N.Y., will give a lecture at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum on Restoring Historic Ironworks, with a focus on Samuel Yellin – Thursday, April 18, 2024, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

Samuel Yellin was born in 1884 to a Jewish family in Ukraine. At the age of 11, he was apprenticed to a master ironsmith and completed his apprenticeship in 1900 at age 16.  He traveled throughout Europe, emigrated to the United States, and settled in Philadelphia. He set up a blacksmith shop there and began to build his reputation.

From museums to skyscrapers, to private homes, churches, hotels, banks, and universities, Yellin left his mark on the American architectural landscape. His metal designs, craftsmanship and artistry can be seen throughout the country. He was sought after by the elite for his skills and creativity, and his legacy lives on, not only in his works but also through his family business, passed down from generation to generation – from Samuel to his son Harvey, to his granddaughter Claire Yellin, who oversees the Samuel Yellin Metalworks Company today.

Rachel Miller and Timothy Miller have recently restored the 18-foot weathervane that once topped the bell tower above the entrance to the mansion courtyard. This major undertaking gives them a unique insight into Yellin’s works and a rare opportunity for attendees to see images of his Vanderbilt work and to hear first-hand about the restoration process and its challenges. 

This intriguing lecture will take place in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium Theater. Support for the lecture is generously provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

Tickets: $10 | Members free


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Spirit Ironworks, Inc., was formed in 2001 as a collaboration and partnership between siblings Timothy and Rachel Miller who share a passion for the art of metalwork and blacksmithing. Rachel has a degree in fine art and Timothy in metalsmithing. They have distinguished themselves in their field and create hand-forged scrollwork, repoussé, and decorative elements in-house to ensure control over the quality of their product. Their business has grown over the years and includes a team of skilled artisans.

The Millers are active members of the National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association, The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, The Institute of Classical Architecture, Artist Blacksmiths Association of North America, and The Patchogue Arts Council.