Samuel Yellin

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A Samuel Yellin lamp at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, PA

Samuel Yellin (1885–1940), was an American master blacksmith, and metal designer.


Born in Galicia, Poland where at the age of eleven he was apprenticed to an iron master. By the age of sixteen he had completed his apprenticeship. During that period he gained the nickname of "Devil," both for his work habits and his sense of humor. Shortly after this he left Poland, traveling through Europe to England, and from there, in 1906, he departed for America. By 1907 he was taking classes at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art and within a year was teaching classes there, a position that he maintained until 1919.

Yellin Studio (1915).

In 1909 he opened his own shop and in 1915 the firm of Mellor, Meigs & Howe, for whom he designed and created many commissions, designed Yellin a new studio at 5520 Arch Street in Philadelphia where he was to remain until his death in 1940. The building continued to act as a functioning business under Yellin’s son Harvey’s direction. After his demise it served as the Samuel Yellin Museum.

During the building boom of the 1920s Yellin’s studio employed as many as 250 workers, many of them European artisans. Although Yellin appreciated traditional craftsmanship and design, he always championed creativity and the development of new designs. Samuel Yellin’s handiwork can be found on some of the finest buildings in America.


Yellin received awards from the Art Institute of Chicago (1919), the American Institute of Architects (1920), the Architectural League of New York (1922), and the Bok Civic Award from the City of Philadelphia (1925).[1] He was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the T Square Club, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and the Architectural League of New York.


  • Samuel S. Yellin Elementary School in Camden, New Jersey, is named for him.

Selected works[edit]

Universities, colleges and schools[edit]

1922 advertisement.

Institutional and commercial[edit]

(Alphabetical by state)



Detail of stair railing (1924), Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Note Yellin's name and year.

(Alphabetical by state)

Architects whose names appear in Yellin’s job book[edit]


Spider screen from the Country Estate of Mrs. Arthur Meigs[4]
  1. ^ Samuel Yellin – Biography, from Philadelphia Architects and Buildings.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Winterthur Museum, Collection of G. Edwin Brumbaugh.
  4. ^ Wenzel, Paul and Maurice Krakow, A Monograph of the Works of Mellor Meigs & Howe, The Architectural Book Publishing Co., New York, 1923, reprinted Graybooks, Boulder, CO, 1991 p. 104


  • Andrews, Jack, Samuel Yellin – Metalsmith, Skipjack Press, Ocean Pines Maryland, 2000
  • Andrews, Jack, Samuel Yellin, Metalworker, Anvil’s Ring, Summer, 1982
  • Architecture magazine, April 1929
  • Bach, Penny Balkin, Public Art in Philadelphia, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1992
  • Bedford, Steven McLeod, John Russell Pope – Architect of Empire, Rizzoli International Publications, NY, NY 1998
  • Bok, Edward W., America’s Taj Mahal – The Singing Tower of Florida, The Georgia Marble Company, Tate, Georgia c. 1929
  • Davis, Myra T., Sketches in Iron, no publishing information
  • Detroit Institute of Arts – The Architecture, The Detroit Institute of Arts 1928
  • Fariello, Anna, "Samuel Yellin: Sketching in Iron," Metalsmith Magazine Fall 2003
  • Federman, Peter, The Detroit Public Library, Classical America IV, Classical America 1977
  • Gallery, John A., Editor, Philadelphia Architecture – A Guide to the City, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1984
  • Harrington, Ty, "The Wizardry of Samuel Yellin, Artist in Metals," Smithsonian Magazine, vol 12, no. 12 (March 1982), pp. 65-75
  • Heilbrun, Margaret, The Architecture of Cass Gilbert, Inventing the Skyline, Columbia University Press, New York, NY 2000
  • Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, Architectural Sculpture of America, unpublished manuscript
  • Teitelman, Edward & Richard W. Longstreth, Architecture in Philadelphia – A Guide, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1981
  • Wattenmaker, Richard J., Samuel Yellin In Context, Flint Museum of Arts, Flint, Michigan 1985
  • Wister, Cret, Gilchrist et al., Melor Meigs & Howe, Graybooks, Boulder Colorado 1991 (reprint of 1923 work)

External links[edit]