Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Collections: Doorstops

We collect. In fact, that may be somewhat of an understatement. My entire family; parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles are antiques collectors. It's definitely in our genetic make-up. I recall many a Friday night spent scouring the Tanque Verde swap meet in Tucson, looking for bargains. Although, at the age of three, I may have been more interested in the promise of the pony rides, than the promise of deal. The result of all of this exposure to antiques, and a genetic predisposition, is that I became hopelessly addicted to collecting antiques. I was a teenager when we moved from Tucson to the Seattle area, and my mom, Dianna, and I, explored the Pacific Northwest by going "antiquing" every weekend. We must have visited every antique and thrift shop from Monroe to Tacoma during those first couple of years. Not to mention the fact that it was excellent time for us to bond during those fun-filled teenage years. Of course, this is still our favorite pastime, and as a result we have quite a few collections between us. We thought that it would be fun to share some of our favorites with you. We will also try to provide some history of the items, when possible.

Dianna, has been collecting cast iron doorstops for many years, and this is one of her favorite collections. She loves these charming little pieces as representative of folk art(some where sold as kits to be painted at home), and as markers of history, as the style or subject of the doorstop often represents the era in which it was made. Originally, doorstops could be any heavy object capable of propping a door open. Before the availability of air conditioning, doors were kept open throughout the house to provide much need air circulation. During the mid-1800's, mass produced, cast iron doorstops became popular as fashionable, decorative items. Their popularity reached it's peak during the 1920's and 1930's, but during WWII, the production of doorstops all but ceased, due to the demand for raw materials, such as iron. By the end of the war, most of the foundries that created the doorstops had closed. The need for doorstops further diminished in the 1950's, as the use of air conditioning became widespread.

We love these sentimental and artistic treasures, not only because of their value as charming decorative objects, but because if you live in a house without air conditioning, like I do, you will find that they are just as useful today at holding a door open, as they have been in the past.

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