Sign has been hanging around Haines Road for 70 years
Does anyone know of any other examples of these weathervane or gate signs that are still around? As you can see, the arched ironwork for the one on the cover of this brochure, erected at the entrance to Mahlon Haines estate in East York, is still there, minus the “Haines Acres” part with the covered wagon and a hanging lantern.
The brochure, called to my attention by Lila Fourhman-Shaull, Director of Library and Archives at the York County History Center, was filed under the name of Samuel S. Schmidt. I found him in the 1948 Polk’s York City Directory listed as a salesman, with his residence at 932 South George Street. Since that was, and still is, a nice private residence, the weathervanes and other objects were likely manufactured elsewhere, and Schmidt was the local distributor. Both stock and customized items were available.
See below for examples of pictured weathervanes. Here is a transcription of the booklet’s text:
THE WEATHERVANE is no longer a relic of the past but, modernized, now appears on cottage and mansion alike. The gate sign has also found new life and welcomes the visitor with a quaint word of introduction.
The vane, swinging over the roof or perched on a trellis in the garden suggests modestly the personalities of the inmates which mark them as individuals. The sign hanging at the gateway, or entrance to the shop, offers a key to the activities of those within.
The following pages illustrate with actual photographs some of our many standard designs of weathervanes. Photographs are used as we believe that a better idea of the details as well as greater appreciation of the beauty of the design may be had.
We have endeavored at all times to combine in our products the practical and the artistic. With this in mind we have chosen bronze and other enduring, rustproof meals. Equipped with a specially designed ball bearing made entirely of bronze, the weathervane once erected will last for years, the original coloring only changing to softer tones.
We are glad to be able to offer to our many friends the advantage of furnishing them with specially designed weathervanes and gate signs at a very small increase in price over that of stock designs. This difference in cost is more than offset by the delight of having a vane that is distinctly yours. A letter from you giving suggestions of what you would like will bring a black and white sketch, free of charge, illustrating your ideas. Or better still, send us a photograph or tracing of a print or design that you like and we will quote you a price on making it into either a weather vane or sign in any size required.
In addition to the designs illustrated, the following are carried in stock: Spanish Dancer, Polo Horses, Farm Scene, Dutch Windmill, Garden Scene and All Breeds of Dogs.
All designs can be furnished as gate signs, the lettering appearing either in silhouette or relief. A hand forged wrought iron bracket of attractive design is furnished with each sign.
Standard Designs, Weathervanes–$65.00. Standard Designs, Gate Signs–$75.00. Special and Exclusive Designs—extra $50.00.
Standard finish, bronze, polished and oxidized to chestnut brown. Special finished, bright polished or hand painted on application. All work is shipped complete, ready to install. Crated and delivered to Express Co. at York Pa.
A final blurb on the back cover reads:
Although only weathervanes and gate signs are shown here the use of bronze silhouettes as decorations are many and varied. As inserts in the garden walk or hearth they lend a distinctive note; as plaques on the wall or as designs in leaded windows they offer new fields for decorative treatments. In the firescreen a silhouette design imbues it with new possibilities. The footscraper as a silhouette is an amusing as well as useful ornament. We will welcome any opportunity of assisting you in any of these and other applications, furnishing photographs or sketches, and suggestions of treatment.
Please let me know, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or through Facebook, if you know of any other surviving examples or have further information on Samuel S. Schmidt. I’ll add the information to the file at the York County History Center.