Countdown to Father's Day - VIII


Cast Iron McKeesport Steel Casting Bookends (LEO Design)


As we countdown the days 'til Father's Day, we would like to share some Handsome Gifts ideas sure to please any Dad.

For the Dad who labors: a pair of heavy cast iron bookends from the McKeesport Steel Casting Company, made in the 1920's or 1930's.  The foundry, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, was one of the hundreds of steel mills, metalworks plants or fabricators which dotted the banks of the Steel City's three rivers: the Monongahela, the Allegheny and the Ohio.  (Why these industrial companies needed to be placed right along the rivers could be the topic for another, more depressing, journal entry.)

Most of the foundry's output was far more industrial—less "sexy"—in nature than these bookends.  In fact, they were not known for making end-consumer products.  McKeesport made heavy component parts for big industry: commercial boiler pipe fittings, freight train axels and switching equipment, metal parts for coal mining operations, and other "muscular" steel objects used to fuel America's Industrial Age.  Bookends, such as the pair shown here, were made to promote the company.  A salesman for McKeesport would have left these bookends as a gift for special customers—a useful, handsome and constant reminder of the foundry and what it could provide to an industrialist, business titan or civic purchasing agent.  Like much of McKeesport's output, these bookends are heavy and brimming with industrial character.  And they display the brutally physical (and hot, hot, hot) reality of the foundry worker's trade.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.

More Father's Day gift ideas tomorrow and in the days to come.



Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248