Yellin, Samuel – American Metalworker

Samuel Yellin, Artist in Metalwork

Yellin as born in 1885 in Mogilera, Galacia, Poland. He was enrolled in a specialized school for arts and crafts as a child. There he was recognized for his drawing ability and interest in iron work. Family and teachers got him an apprenticeship to a local Russian blacksmith. Yellin became a mastersmith at the age of seventeen. In 1902 he left home and is believed to have traveled to Russia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France and England. Yellin moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1906 where he lived with his mother and sisters. They had moved to the United States about six years before Yellin arrived.

Initially Yellin was engaged in minor metalworking jobs. He enrolled in evening classes at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts. In 1908 he was asked to develop a class in wrought iron. Yellin started the class and built a forge in carriage house to the rear of the school.

In 1909 Yellin opened his first shop in a rented apartment in the top floor of an apartment building on North 5th Street in Philadelphia. It was a two room apartment with low ceilings, inadequate ventilation and constant complaints of smoke and noise. He called his business The Industrial Ornamental Forge Co. Yellin designed and drafted out of his home office. Yellin moved his company to a larger space on Arch Street in 1915. He changed the name to Samuel Yellin, Metalworker. He used this name for the remainder of his career. His shop grew at a steady pace, employing more and more workers and completing more jobs. In this new shop, Yellin built a museum for his collection of antique iron work he probably collected during his travels through Europe.

Samuel Yellin died of a heart attack in December of 1940. His work is installed in private estates, universities, churches and businesses nationwide. He also received numerous awards and honors for his ironwork and exhibited it around the country.

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