Cyril Colnik

Herman Uihlein Newell Post

    Cyril Colnik was from Triebein, Austria. He was born September 20, 1871, and died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1957. Colnik apprenticed in Vienna. He also studied in France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and finally in Munich, Germany. He came to this country in 1893 assumingly with Reinhold Kirsch to help the German government with their ironwork exhibits at the Chicago World's Fair. Colnik heard about the "German Athens" to the north, Milwaukee, and decided he could better earn a living with Milwaukee's large German speaking communities. Colnik received several commissions from beer barons Captain Frederick Pabst and Herman Uihlein of Schlitz Brewing Company, among other "48ers" who had amassed fortunes since the German influx into America in 1848.

    A 1914 advertisement reads:
    Manufacturers of Artistic Iron, Brass, Bronze, such as Doors, Grilles, Etc.., Candelabras, Lanterns, Brackets, Old fashioned Door Fixtures, Fireplace Goods, Antique Armours. Hammered Shields, Memorial Tablets, Statuaries, Monuments, Etc.., Metal Work in All Styles....."

    It became popular to have Cyril Colnik's ironwork part of the architectural elements of affluent homes and institutions. He was a master of any design style and time period. He was so highly regarded for his sense of style that often architects would note on the blueprint "Colnik to design ironwork".

    Colnik was a pacifist. When World War I broke out he became depressed. He heard of an English officer who saw atop the building of one of the largest German newspapers in Milwaukee a symbol of Germany's greatest conquest: a statue of Miss Germania. The English wanted the statue removed. One night, Colnik helped remove Miss Germania from the building and concealed her in his shop so she would not be defaced or stolen. The statue has never been seen nor recovered since.



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