Today’s Featured ArtisanAmos Glick, Craftsman in Iron

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, a long tradition of craftsmanship produces legacy structures in recycled iron and aluminum.

Left: Amos Glick presents examples of past projects at last year’s Historic Home Show.
Right: Composed of almost 100% recycled materials, this curved entry rail has a zero-VOC finish.

Amos Glick may look as though he stepped out of a 19th-century portrait, but he’s the head of a successful 21st-century ironwork shop serving the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Granted, Compass Ironworks is thoroughly grounded in Amish traditions. Based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the family-owned business produces ironwork gates, interior railings and staircases, terraces and balconies, and custom fences in centuries-old decorative styles. With horse-and-buggy rigs, the surrounding countryside remains bucolic.

A small team of craftsmen uses modern tools and up-to-date, highly durable finishing techniques in a 15,000-square-foot shop surrounded by farm fields cultivated and harvested by neighbors. All work is custom, and Amos and others work directly with designers, architects, builders, and property owners to determine the final look of a project.

This hand-forged interior staircase rail includes spiral scrolls and gold highlights.

The company works primarily in iron and aircraft-grade aluminum. All bar stock is at least 97% recycled material—which often comes as a surprise to clients, who are pleased that such timeless designs can be specified from such sustainable materials. The eco-friendly powder-coating system releases zero VOCs into the environment. Compass Ironworks has also developed accredited courses to educate architects and designers on the characteristics of the metals they use.

A historic gate in Philadelphia, restored by Compass Ironworks.

Among the company’s more elaborate projects is an interior foyer railing that required 30,000 hammer blows to forge all the scrollwork. Every curve and line was drawn in CAD (computer-assisted design) first, then laid out on the shop table for fabrication. “The client was absolutely thrilled with the end result,” Amos says, “and the railing will leave a design legacy that will last for decades and generations.”

A privacy fence follows the contours of the land.

Meet Amos Glick and see examples of the work of Compass Ironworks at the Historic Home Show at the Valley Forge Casino Resort, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Feb. 6–8, 2015.

Amos Glick, Compass Ironworksv
(717) 442-4500
1406 West Kings Highway
Gap, PA 17527