4850 Connecticut Ave. NW | Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202.686.0135 | Fax: 202.686.0135 | sortado@gmail.com
"Historic Preservation Contractor"

Restoration of Composition Ornament, aka
A newly cast piece of reproduction composition ornament set into a stripped mantel for refinishing.


To furnish comprehensive and integrated historic preservation of significant structures built in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, the artisans of Historic Structures have made a long study of composition ornament, also known as "compo". This cast material was first manufactured in the US in the late 18th century as a cheaper alternative to carved ornament, a commodity much in demand for the neoclassical house designs first popularized by the English architect, Robert Adam.

Composition ornament is a general term for various proprietary molded and cast mixtures composed variously from linseed oil, pitch, whiting, hide glue and various binders and aggregates such as horsehair, hemp or dried clay. Because of its low cost and ability to confer "correct" high style detail on the most vernacular structure, composition ornament remained popular throughout the period.

Historic Structures is pleased to work with clients conserving, restoring or reproducing period composition ornament. Our experience and knowledge of this period can help to assure an efficient and satisfactory result for your project as it has for so many others. We offer expert conditions analysis, research on materials and skillful repairs of such typical failures as surface cracking, delamination and broken or missing elements. We would be glad to hear about your significant historic restoration or reproduction project:

To contact our Principal, Stephen Ortado, by email, click here or call our office at 202.686.0135. Our fax is the same. We are glad to respond to your letters sent to:

Stephen Ortado
Historic Structures
4850 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

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