Purcell and Elmslie, Architects
Firm active: 1907-1921
Minneapolis, Minnesota :: Chicago,
On the downside, visual comparisons can automatically trigger an "apples versus oranges" mentality toward patterns whose raison d'Ítre exists solely within the context of the building where they were intended to be seen. Furthermore, there are people who might use these patterns serendipitously to create (or, worse, adapt) commercial reproductions, something that reflects a sad misunderstanding--and, in my view, betrayal--of the P&E philosophy against copying things of the past. Such uses are made difficult and therefore unreliable by the frequent absence of scale in the electronic facsimile, making the results of such reproductions even more problematic or, dare I say, catastrophically bad. [The creation of drink coasters from images of the E. L. Powers leaded glass door panels is the lowest point of exploitation I have yet witnessed].
The vast majority of these drawings are published by the University of Minnesota Libraries with a searchable interface. Their XML indexing is incomplete for searches on "sawed wood diagram" and the like, but the persistent researcher can eventually locate almost all the images presented here through the IMAGES database. The few drawings that appear here from The Western Architect issues can also be obtained. The full scale drawings in the flat files of the Purcell Papers remain absent, leaving many additional patterns unseen. In all, perhaps the good will outweigh the bad here.