Whiting & Davis: Bling It Out with Metal Mesh

Catharine Malandrino, Carlos Miele, Michael Kors, Anne Klein; although you may not have heard the name Whiting & Davis before, you’ve surely heard some of those. Whiting & Davis has been the leading supplier of metal mesh for the last century, making it by hand (in the late 1800’s) until they developed the first machine-made mesh in their Massachusetts factory in 1912.

Metal mesh. Manufactured by Whiting & Davis.

“These intricate materials look like metal covered fabrics but upon a closer inspection these lustrous materials are an intricate weave of interlocking metal links formed from rings of solid brass, aluminum, or stainless steel, plated or enameled, and polished to a brilliant finish.” You have seen this material on runways and in stores in the form of shoes, dresses, tops and handbags. Aside from its aforementioned use in the fashion world, it can be used for industrial, architectural and scientific applications as well as jewelry and home décor. “It is an intricate weave of interlocking metal links formed from rings of solid brass, aluminum or stainless steel, plated or enameled, and polished to a brilliant finish,” according to the company. It can drape like fabric while providing the longevity of metal. “This luxurious material ripples through the fingers like liquid gold...” From accent pillows to window coverings, room dividers, and back drops, its applications are seemingly endless.  Beyond the luxurious opulence you may associate with the product, it can create an atmosphere of industrial or contemporary edginess. 

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Whiting & Davis produces four categories of metal mesh.  Ring mesh is available in four types.  The smaller two sizes, both made of stainless steel, feature individually welded rings for strength.  Its configuration gives it the ability to collapse in two directions, "allowing optimum flexibility and design creativity."   Flexible and fluid, brass flat mesh creates a shimmering light-reflective "fabric" surface.  Either plated or enameled, it is manufactured with a convex ‘spider’ connecting to four individual rings. Bubble mesh is made similarly to flat mesh, but with a convex spider, creating a "simple, yet lustrous pattern of texture unlike any other material."  The lightweight aluminum mesh, manufacturered with slightly curved 'spiders' that connects four individual flat aluminum rings, was developed for large applications such as drapery and costuming fabric. According to Whiting and Davis, "it can  be pieced together in strips to create chunky, contemporary patterns."

Posted August 12, 2009 by Jenny Rector

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