Articles At A Glance
Old Figural Cast-Iron Doorstops Affordable and Available
As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, February 2010
They can be whimsical or historical, but cast-iron doorstops were always functional before air conditioning and central heating. In 18th century England where they originated they were known as “door porters. They were made in America in the early 19th century. Historically, President Andrew Jackson is said to have had figural frog doorstops with the slogan “I croak for the Jackson wagon, “ used during his campaign.
A variety of figural cast-iron door stops, usually from the early 20th century come to auction and EBay. Prices range from $50 to over a thousand dollars. For example a rare, cast iron peacock door stop with brightly colored original paint, dating to the 1930s has a current dealer price of $1,100.
Houses were a popular subject for English and American doorstops. The English version depicted Shakespeare’s Stratford-On-Avon house. American doorstops were of Southern mansions and log cabins, to mention a few examples.
After the Civil War when iron casting techniques became more refined doorstops became of a status symbol for the upper class and many subjects from animals to ships became popular. Whatever was trendy
at the time was turned into a doorstop. During the 1850s when trading with Japan began figural doorstops were images of Buddha.
There were many foundries capitalizing on doorstop popularity, among them Hubley Manufacturing of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, known for their cast iron toys. A maker’s signature adds to the value. Some names to look for are Albany Foundry(1897-1932) and Littlestown Foundry.
were made by carving wood and pressing the mold into
compacted sand. At first the cast doorstops were hand painted. Later
examples were spray painted on an assembly line.
During World War 1 when scrap iron was melted down for the war interest in doorstops died. It was revived in the 1920s and 30s. At that time they could be bought through a Sears catalog for 50 cents to $2.00 and in gift shops.
CLUES: Since most designs were based on variations of a ship, flower basket and animals. Human shaped figures, less common, bring top dollar. Sports figures and extra long examples, such as a covered wagon door stop,(16” long) are rarities. While cat figures are common, one with glass eyes is considered a rarity.
Most doorstops weigh between three and eight pounds. Reproductions can be a problem. Cast from old molds they can be recognized by blurred details and bright paint. Experts advise to examine the seams where they are joined. They won’t match exactly.
Another tip: the finish is sometime bumpy or pebbly where it should be smooth.
Since not everybody appreciates an old doorstop flea markets and garage sales offer opportunities.
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