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An ogee-arched doorway in Pirna, Germany
Component pieces of ogee arch
Ogee molding and its shadow pattern.

An ogee (/ˈ/ or /ˈ/) is a curve (often used in molding), shaped somewhat like an S, consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite senses, so that the ends are parallel. It is a kind of sigmoid curve.

The term has uses in architecture, mathematics, and fluid mechanics, as well as marine construction, clock design and plastic surgery.

Use in architecture[edit]

Ogee arch[edit]

In architecture, the principal use of the term is to describe an arch composed of two ogees, mirrored left-to-right and meeting at an apex.[1] Ogee arches were a feature of English Gothic architecture in the later thirteenth century.[2]


A building's surface detailing (indoors or out) may have a molding with an ogee-shaped profile, consisting (going from low to high) of a concave arc flowing into a convex arc, with vertical ends; if the lower curve is convex and higher one concave, this is known as a Roman ogee, although frequently the terms are used as if they are interchangeable and for a variety of other shapes. Alternative names for such a true Roman ogee molding include cyma reversa and talon.[3]

The cyma reversa form occurs in antiquity. For example, in ancient Persia, the Tomb of Cyrus featured the cyma reversa.[4] The cyma reversa is also evident in ancient Greek architecture.[5] The ogee shape is one of the characteristics of the Gothic style of architecture, especially decorative elements in the 14th and 15th century late Gothic styles called Flamboyant in France and Decorated in England. Ogee windows and arches were introduced to European cities from the Middle East. The ogee curve is an analogue of a "cyma curve", the difference being that a cyma has horizontal rather than vertical ends.

The ogee and Roman ogee profiles are used in decorative molding, often framed between moldings with a square section. As such it is part of the standard classical decorative vocabulary, adopted from architrave and cornice moldings of the Ionic order and Corinthian order. An ogee is also often used in the "crown molding" frequently found at the top of a piece of case furniture, or for capping a baseboard or plinth, or where a wall meets the ceiling. An ogee molding may be run in plaster or wood, or cut in stone or brickwork.

Other uses[edit]

Ogee clock, framed with ogee molding.

Ogee is also a mathematical term, meaning an inflection point.

In fluid mechanics, the term is used for an ogee-shaped aerodynamic profile. For example, a wing may have ogee profile, particularly on supersonic aircraft such as the Concorde. Also, the downstream face of a dam spillway is usually formed in an ogee curve to minimize water pressure.

An "ogee washer" is a heavy washer with a large bearing surface used in marine timber construction to prevent bolt heads or nuts from sinking into the face of timbers. The term ogee is used due to the ogee shape in radial symmetry around the center. Due to the size and shape, they are generally manufactured as a cast iron product in accordance with ASTM A47 or A48.

An "ogee clock" is a common kind of weight-driven 19th-century pendulum clock in a simplified Gothic taste, made in the United States for a mantelpiece or to sit upon a wall bracket. It is rectangular, with ogee-profile molding that frames a central glass door that protects the clock face and the pendulum. The door usually carries a painted scene in the area beneath the face. Ogee clocks are one of the most commonly encountered varieties of American antique clocks.

In aesthetic facial surgery, the term is used to describe the malar or cheekbone prominence transitioning into the mid-cheek hollow. The aim of a mid-face rejuvenation is to restore the ogee curve and enhance the cheekbones. This enhancement is also commonly a part of a routine facelift.

In distillation, an ogee is the bubble-shaped chamber of a pot still that connects the swan neck to the pot. It allows distillate to expand, condense, and fall back into the pot.

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Davies, Nikolas; Jokiniemi, Erkki (2011). Architect's Illustrated Pocket Dictionary. Oxford, England: Architectural Press. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-08-096537-6. 
  2. ^ Honour, H. and J. Fleming, (2009) A World History of Art. 7th edn. London: Laurence King Publishing, p. 391. ISBN 9781856695848
  3. ^ Parker, John Henry (1850). A glossary of terms used in Grecian, Roman, Italian, and Gothic Architecture 1. London: David Bogue. p. 159. OCLC 719426. "Cyma recta…which is hollow in the upper part, and round in the lower; and Cyma reversa, (Talon…) which is hollow in the lower part and round in the upper." 
  4. ^ C.Michael Hogan (2008) Tomb of Cyrus, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A.[page needed]
  5. ^ W.B.Dinsmoor, 1973[page needed]
  • William Bell Dinsmoor and William James Anderson (1973) The architecture of ancient Greece: an account of its historic development, Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 424 pages ISBN 0-8196-0283-3.
  • C.Michael Hogan (2008) Tomb of Cyrus, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A.
  • The Art of Distilling Whiskey, By Bill Owens And Alan Dikty, 2009. Page 26

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53 news items

Maine Antique Digest

Maine Antique Digest
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 04:48:45 -0700

Fennimore said its original ogee top (sometimes called a sarcophagus top) was carved by Samuel Harding and compared it to documented work by Harding at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). Neither Fennimore's talk nor the next talks on ...
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:48:45 -0700

It took Ogee, 22, four months to get from his homeland of Sierra Leone to the Moroccan mountains near Melilla. And as an illegal immigrant in Morocco, “hiding from the police”, 24-year-old Lenny Otteh says he is a “prisoner”. He has lived in the forest ...
The Times (subscription)
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:20:08 -0700

The main dam is 598.5 feet long with eight submersible Tainter gates (60-feet wide, 16-feet high, 25-foot radius) and Ogee spillway at Ice Chute. The gates are remotely controlled by the lockmaster at the lock. The South Channel Headrace dam is 111 ...
SourceWire (press release)
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:15:00 -0700

Providing a collection of square, round and ogee curved guttering, the specialists imparted the following recommendations. “Maintaining or replacing your guttering not only improves the overall appearance of your home, but it can increase the strength ...
Sun, 06 Apr 2014 13:53:43 -0700

Armstrong became the third Husker to slug three doubles in a game and the first since Kim Ogee in 2003. Decker was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, while Stokes was 2-for-3 with an RBI double and an RBI triple. Knighten was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:00:00 -0700

Loughborough, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/18/2014 -- Online Building Plastics the leading online supplier of building products, is pleased to offer cast iron gutter as an addition to their suite of guttering products. They have elegance ogee extra capacity ...
Wall Street Journal
Wed, 02 Apr 2014 09:18:45 -0700

The primary spiral was driven to the 4530 level from the 4650 adit level (120 feet below the mine portal) and both top cut and underhand ore mining occurred in three Ogee-zone stope blocks during development. Additionally five stope blocks were ...

Maine Antique Digest

Maine Antique Digest
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 05:11:15 -0700

The tall case rests on appropriately restored ogee bracket feet. Atypical, however, is the absence of hood colonnettes (Fig. 3). The fine overall line, proportion, and form of the case suggest an origin in the Philadelphia region, not in City Center ...

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