• Winged griffin, after Hecla Iron Works

    The first half of the first mold is done, to-morrow the 2nd half will be done and the work makes some more progress.

    The Hecla Iron Works of Brooklyn NY was named after Mount Hecla, an active volcano in Iceland. A fitting name for a design studio and foundry established by two Scandinavians: Danish-born Niels Poulson and his Norwegian partner, Charles Eger.

    The two men came to the United States at different times in the 1860s, and founded their business in a small office in Williamsburg in 1876, a boom time for building in Brooklyn and New York City. Both men had backgrounds as mason-journeymen, and Poulson had been an architectural draftsman in Washington DC, and architect/engineer for the Architectural Ironworks of New York.

     

  • Winged griffin

    I decided to finally make the 3 molds needed to make this griffin newel post. I had 3 of them in my collection, cast-iron from the 1870s they were used as newel posts on the stoops of buildings in NYC.
    Many of them had their wings broken off, many probably deliberately by building supers to remove the fairly sharp pointed wings to avoid injuries or tearing of ladies dresses.

    They were made by Heckla Iron works in Brooklyn.

    The originals were cast-iron, a material that would cost hundreds of dollars just for the castings, so casting them in metal is not likely, casting them in any kind of plaster, cast stone or ceramic/terracotta would be too fragile, so the only practical material these can be made of in a two part resin, even so this is expensive and would take about $150 worth to cast the 3 pieces.

    I am at present working on the molds required, the wings will take two two piece molds and the body will take one two piece mold and a supporting shell, my plaster cast needs some repairs, refinement and chasing some missing details back in, sometime later this summer I should have the work done.

    After I have a couple in my hands I can price them better then, I anticipate they will be around $350 each, the resin comes in deep black, so if they are primed and painted with a gloss black paint they would be like the original painted cast-iron pieces which were usually gloss black too like the 2nd photo shows.

    The resin can be drilled to install on a base or something, I would not recommend using the resin casts AS newel posts, but in the garden or just as decorative newel posts not supporting an active handrail they’d be stunning.

     

     

    48 Perry st, Greenwich Village, the pair do not appear to be original to this location, maybe even this building, an architectural iron firm

    had a hand in restoring them but it is unknown what exactly they did, at the very least they likely replaced missing wings. All of the ones Ive seen had provisions in the tops of the heads for a handrail, these two don’t so¬† they may have been altered, in fact the whole ground floor was extensively changed and this ugly concrete going up he stairs that the griffins sit on certainly is not original. Further- the building dates closer to around 1895 while these griffins date to ca 1870s.