A great example of a personalised weathervane, given as a birthday gift. Our customer contacted us asking if we could produce a bespoke weathervane featuring her husband and the things he loves; this included playing the guitar, fishing, walking their Border Collie, and drinking good wine. At first it seemed a little challenging as to how on earth we would fit all of these seemingly quite different interests into one image, but we did it! We’re really proud of the design, especially as these are pretty well all things we enjoy ourselves so it was a fun one to draw despite initally having no idea how to go about it. The customer and the recipient were both delighted with their personalised weathervane; she even sent us a video of her husband opening the suprise gift, which was genuinely fantastic for us to see, as we never normally get to see people’s reactions to what we have designed and made for them!
Though these days the Beetle is more often remembered fondly as a car of the swinging sixties, it was initally designed in pre WW2 Germany by Ferdinand Porsche, at the request of a Mr Hitler. It needed be a ‘car of the people’; to seat two adults and two children, with space for their luggage, and cruise at 60mph. Importantly, it also needed to be affordable, and could be purchased through a savings card system. By the time the second world war broke out in 1939, only a handful of consumer cars had been produced, and all customer orders had been cancelled as production was switched from civilian vehicles to that of military vehicles. One of these was an amphibious vehicle, delightfully named the ‘Schwimmwagen’.
Our portfolio of weathervane and sign designs has grown over the past few years, based mostly on customer requests for new designs. Fairly early on we created a design based on the iconic Flying Scotsman but it was some time later before the LMS Jubilee was finally added to our design portfolio. Now the design work is done we can also incorporate these into house signs and decorative steel panels made to a customer’s specifications. Hopefully other rail enthusiasts will see these current designs and might want to commission other designs based around other locomotives. We have already done a great design based on a customer’s traction engine too.
The Flying Scotsman is world famous, in part due to its record setting top speed (reaching 100mph in 1934) and probably more significant in terms of actual usage its record for the longest non-stop run for a steam locomotive when it covered 422 miles in Australia. When the Scotsman became key in the rivalry between the LMS West Coast service and the LNER East coast service up to Edinburgh it was not the phenomenal top speed that really mattered, but the ability to run non-stop. This was achieved in part due to a corridor through the tender to allow the crew to change over without stopping. The significance of this is not to be understated, when you consider that during the London-Edinburgh trip the fireman would need to shovel around 7 tons of coal! The other key thing required for a non-stop run is a lot of water, which was often supplied by use of water troughs between the rails and scoops, especially in Britain. The later Flying Scotsman tender could hold 5,000 gallons of water. The LMS Jubilee class locomotives were initially built from 1934 1936 and were designed for mainline passenger work, with 191 built in total. They were a very common sight on the LMS lines right through until they were eventually decommissioned in the 1960’s. Their length of service and indeed numbers does mean the Jubilee class does have a nostalgia factor for a lot of rail enthusiasts, coupled with the fact there are four preserved examples still running on heritage lines in the UK today.
As a great little personal touch, one customer asked if we would be able to add a signal box to their weathervane. We thought about this a little as we did not want to affect the balance and function of the weathervane itself and eventually concluded the best option would be to have the signal box on the letter bars (North, South, East, West) beneath the sail, so the train appears to be flying past it. I think a house sign could look great with a bit of a landscape scene in it featuring both a locomotive and signal box… perhaps a project for the not too distant future.
Our LMS Jubilee weathervane was featured on channel 4′s ‘Shed of the Year’ programme, as one of the entries into the competition was a railway enthusiast with a shed beautifully done up to house his collection of memorabilia, with our weathervane as the finishing touch to his roof. This weathervane can be found on the link below: https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/weathervanes-other-vehicles/lms-jubilee-train.html
A photo sent in showing our Lancaster Bomber weathervane insitu. It was bought as a gift, and is now mounted to the top of a wooden post in the garden. This is a great option for mounting a weathervane when you don’t have a suitable out building. The wooden posts can be picked up from places like Wickes for less than £15, and we can supply a weathervane fixing specifically for this purpose, so it’s a relatively easy way of creating a unique focal point in the centre of your garden, where it can be easily seen and admired.
The iconic Lancaster Bomber is one of the first designs that started our range of military weathervanes. These four engined planes were produced during the second world war, and actually the majority were manufactured in Chadderton, just a couple of miles from our workshop. You can see more of our aeroplane and military vehicles weathervanes in the ‘other vehicles‘ section of the website, and as always we’d love to expand our range so do not charge extra for new designs.
We’ve just had this photo of our Swallows weathervane emailed in by the customer. Though she chose to have no letter bars when ordering the weathervane, it’s such a great photo I thought it was worth posting. I love how the bright blue sky makes the birds’ markings stand out, the laser cut design is very distinctively Swallows. One of our more popular weathervanes!
Our John Deere Tractor weathervane stands out really well on the gable end of this barn, and we’re glad to hear our customer is delighted with it. We sent the weathervane out initially with a standard 18” long pole as usual, but when the customer came to mount it, he discovered that this was not quite long enough for the intended location, so contacted us to order another. We were happy to swap the standard pole for a longer one free of charge, as the returned pole can easily be re used for someone else.
We’ve produced a range of tractor weathervane designs now, though many of them from more of a vintage era than this. We’d love to expand our range in this area, so can produce new tractor designs for no extra cost. Check out our current range of Excavator and Tractor weathervanes on the link below – they make a great gift for farmers as they can be personalised to whatever extent your imagination will allow.
A bespoke Tractor weathervane we produced recently began as a Massey Ferguson 135, so a fairly straightforward design to produce there. Our customer then realised how much more unique the gift would be if we were able to include her father driving the Tractor, plus some of his animals. The only issue I have with designs like this is that the more individual components in a design, the smaller everything will have to be in order for the sail to balance, which is vital in the functioning of the weathervane. So we ended up adding a Cow, Sheep, Pig and Chickens, along with a waving driver, making it completely unique and personalised; a great gift for any farmer!
This bespoke weathervane depicts a typically African scene. The design depicts a Giraffe seeking shade under an Acacia tree, reaching down to take a drink. The weathervane is based on a house sign design we produced for the same customer last year. The house name is Kisima, which means ‘watering hole’ in Swahili. The house has a well, and our customer says she loves to feed and water friends and family, so this weathervane represents that – a great idea for a personalised design.
Due to the relatively large surface area at the top of the Acacia tree combined with the thin trunk, we’ve welded a support rod from the base of the tree to where the branches split off. This supports the trunk, which could be quite vulnerable without it.
Last week we posted a swinging sign featuring two deer, well here’s a weathervane with a very similar design, showing a Stag and Doe stood in fern undergrowth. Our customer has sent in this photo of their weathervane mounted on top of their summerhouse, bought as a 70th birthday present. A great gift for a nature lover! They chose the Celtic style arrow, and scrolls under the letter bars, but all of our weathervane designs are also available with a plain, more traditional arrow, and cardinal points without the scrolls for a more contemporary look.
This time last year we undertook an epic journey, driving our 93 Fiat Panda (which had previously been off the road for some time) from Manchester to Saint Petersburg and back. Along the way it was great to see the changes in architectural styles, going up through Sweden and Finland, in to Russia, then back through the Baltics and Northern Europe.
Obviously we have a special interest in decorative metalwork (for which Saint Petersburg certainly did not disappoint), especially weathervanes. Though there were some great examples on the whole trip (some of which I may get round to posting on here one day), especially on the Russian Orthodox churches, one place really stood out for weathervanes and that was Gdansk.
We only spent 2 nights in Gdansk but it is definitely on the list of places we would love to revisit and spend more time. Its historic centre was virtually levelled during the Second World War and faced with the choice of recreating the original town or starting afresh the decision was made to rebuild, based on historic photos, documents and plans. They did make some changes to make the buildings more practical, indeed the roads now have bigger public garden spaces between them. By drawing rooms level in neighbouring buildings more practical flats were created and on top of all of these reconstructions are dated weathervanes!
On the docks one of the most recognisable landmarks of Gdansk is the medieval crane, and it has this iconic weathervane on top. It is unusual in Gdansk as most of the weathervanes are the more traditional banner types, seen in the image below.
I think this is a great way to recognise the dates that the buildings were completed, a weathervane is in my opinion the perfect way to top off a new building in style.
A great photo we’ve just received from a customer showing our Rock n roll dancers weathervane insitu. They had seen our Charleston weathervane online, and contacted us to see if we could make some changes, which as usual we were happy to do at no extra cost. These are the only two dancing themed weathervanes we’ve created so far, but would love to extend our portfolio on this theme! It would make a great personalised gift for anyone who shares this hobby, as we can create a design based on any style of dance.