We are counting-down the last of the "Dog Days of Summer"—a forty day period scheduled to end on 11 August. To commemorate these waning days of Summer, we'd like to share some of our favorite "canines" from the LEO Design collection. Consider sending one as a gift to your favorite dog lover.
Before the days of residential air conditioning, windows were left open—and doors required "fixing-open," to prevent them from slamming-shut in a breeze. A wooden wedge-shaped offcut was all one needed to stop a door. But how much fun is that? Metal foundries stepped-in to produce a wide variety of doorstops (and other metal household items), often highly decorative).
Hubley Manufacturing was one such company. Founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1894 by John Hubley, the company made a range of decorative sand-cast iron doorstops, some of them modeled after different breeds of dogs.
The process started by carving an excellent wooden model—complete with details like fur, musculature and facial features. The model was then pressed into a tray of sticky sand, then removed, leaving an impression which would become the mould. Molten iron (heated to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit) was poured into the sand mould and allowed to cool. Once it was cold, the casting would be removed from the mould and cleaned-off to remove any clinging sand, burrs or other irregularities. The raw items were then painted a solid color—usually white, cream or black—before being sent to specialist painters who would add other coloration and painted detail.
Hubley started producing toys in 1909 and, within a few decades, had mostly converted to toy manufacture—especially scale model cars and car model assembly kits (which are highly collectible today).
The Terrier, shown above, was from the earlier years of the Hubley Company's manufacture. He has spent over 100 years holding-open doors in draughty houses. He still has much of his original paint and you may learn more about him by clicking on the photo above.
More Dog Day items to come, tomorrow and over the following days.
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 (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248