Weather vanes


New illustration work has had me searching again through the Internet Archive’s scanned books so there may be a surfeit of these postings for a while. One of the more fascinating areas of that site for my purposes is the Winterthur Museum Library which has a large quantity of manufacturers’ and retailers’ catalogues. This is the kind of ephemera that Walter Benjamin enjoyed, the documents that you give you a more initimate and direct sense of the past than the broader examinations of social historians. (The same applies to magazine and newspaper adverts.)

This weather vane catalogue for the Fiske Iron Works, New York, dates from 1921. Have weather vanes in recent times been more popular in America than in Britain? It often feels that way, possibly as a result of the preponderance in the US of new (or newish) houses in remote locations. The variety of designs in the Fiske catalogue implies a demand, in any case, with some surprising offerings such as a fish and an automobile. The rest of the designs can be seen here.



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