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Fells Point Business Has Been Restoring Brass For More Than 3 Decades

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Ron Matz is an Emmy award-winning reporter who joined the Eyewitness...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s a unique shop in Fells Point, and it’s been a success for nearly 40 years.

Ron Matz has the brass facts on a Baltimore business that has customers here and all over the world.

Dave Simmons is clear coating a brass tray. Brassworks in Fells Point specializes in brass and copper restoration.

“I think people have a lot of old family heirlooms. They’ve had them for years. The good thing about brass is it can be restored, over and over again,” said Simmons, who has been at Brassworks for 30 years. “Fells Point is a great place to work. Everything is different. It’s never the same two pieces. It’s interesting.”

Owner Cray Merrill opened his unique shop in 1975.

“We started this business because brass beds were very, very popular back in the early ’70s.There was one in town doing this type of work, so we started polishing brass beds and we still do a lot of that. But we’ve expanded to do almost everything in brass, copper and silver as well,” Merrill said. “People bring things to us from all over the Baltimore region, and as far away as Hawaii. We have things shipped into us almost every week to be restored.”

Address plaques and compasses are popular. There are many unusual items too. Customers love the wooden nautical chart of the bay. There’s even a re-creation of a vintage sign.

“I’ve been coming in for 10 years. For any gift for anybody this is my first and last stop,” said Carol Posko, Butchers Hill. “A lot of people come in to look at the door knockers because they’re not as easy to find as you think. The compasses are also a big item. People come in from all over the United States and a lot of times we will ship it to them.”

Need a door knocker? Brassworks has plenty of them.

“We like to think we have the best selection of door knockers in Baltimore,” Merrill said. “We usually keep about 30 different door knockers in stock. We have 20 breeds of dogs available. Just about anything you can imagine. There’s something that pretty much suits everyone.”

Just imagine having an old family treasure restored. At Brassworks they do it with pride.

“We like doing this very much. It’s one of the most gratifying things when people come in to pick up something we’ve restored. They’re just excited and blown away by how good it looks. It’s given them a new lease on life,” Merrill said. “These metals have become somewhat precious, and they can be very expensive so from a cost standpoint it’s much better to restore than it is to discard and replace. This has become kind of a disposable society. Brass, copper and silver are cherished metals and have been for centuries. As families grow older and people start to downsize, children are given these things and they like to take care of them.”

Brassworks has done restoration for hospitals and courthouses and even the Smithsonian Institution.

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