Weather vanes were used by the ancient Greeks a hundred years before the birth of Christ; by early Scandinavians on their ships; and were common throughout England since William the Conqueror, and throughout Europe since the French Revolution. American vanes were recorded since the seventeenth century — among the first known is the copper cockerel, made in 1656 for the Dutch Reformed Church at Albany. The weather vane found a welcome home in the expanding America of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was a jaunty bit of decoration that served an important utilitarian function and enlivened the whole landscape with its humorous and homespun motifs, bold and vigorous design, and spirited air of American individualism and independence.
By the late nineteenth century weather vane design and manufacture had reached full maturity. There were several firms throughout the United States specializing in weather vanes, some of which issued catalogs displaying their wares. Among the largest and most important of these companies was A. B. & W. T. Westervelt of New York City, whose extensive illustrated 1883 catalog, featuring over 550 copper weather vanes and finials, is herein reprinted.
This excellent primary source by one of the principal manufacturers of American weather vanes offers an extraordinarily wide range of styles and motifs, including: horse with sulky and driver, cow or bull, gun and cap, goddess of liberty, dog, ram or sheep, Indian chief, hook and ladder with number, oxen, ocean steamer, Roman banneret and scroll, rooster, cannon, fish, pen, locomotive and tender, initials, lion, liberty cap and arrows, malter's shovel and brew barrel, and many more. Vanes are illustrated with line engravings, are especially well suited to reproduction (all royalty-free), and are accompanied by relevant information on size, materials, and original prices.
Indispensable for the architect, antique collector, and historian, this collection of authentic weather vane designs will also prove to be an unusually rich source of royalty-free art and graphic inspiration for the artist, designer, and crafter.