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With These Hands

The Weigls were a part of the small community of Swiss and German craftsmen active in Austin during the period between the two World Wars. Peter Mansbendel, the famed woodcarver, was among the first to arrive and establish himself. Weigl arrived shortly afterward…[and] spent his first years working at odd jobs for German-speaking tradesman before turning to iron crafting.

Among other jobs, he worked for more than a year as a woodcarver for Mansbendel, who also gave him his first local job as an iron craftsman. In 1917, when Weigl had been in Austin about four years, the woodcarver hired him to make four wrought-iron light fixtures that Mansbendel had designed in San Antonio. Mansbendel equipped Weigl with a forge, an anvil, a hammer, a vise, some raw iron, and a sack of coal, for which he received the four light fixtures and $3 a week in cash until the debt was settled.

"The Weigls: Art Craftsmen in Iron," Austin Homes & Gardens, December 1979

Mustachioed Lee and balding Herbert [Weigl] work all day in an atmosphere which is less than esthetic -- the work is dirty and hard, hot in summer, cold in winter. But from their hands and creative minds come ornamental pieces which have made the Weigl name renowned throughout Texas.

The Austin Public Library, the French Legation, the Elisabet Ney Museum, Mayor Roy Butler's home, the Capitol, the Dobie Room in the University of Texas Academic Center, Woodlawn, the Gary Morrison home, the Bremond Block, the cemetery at the LBJ Ranch, most of the important buildings in Austin -- all these and many other Texas buildings and sites have been enhanced by some form of Weigl craftsmanship.

Austin American-Statesman, February 21, 1975

Photograph of hand hammering a spike Photograph of a hand showing many years of wear from iron work
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Photograph of ironworker in protective gear Photograph of hand grasping spike
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Photograph of ironworker
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