This reproduction example is a figural painted cast iron bottle opener shaped like a singing cowboy that is a copy of a mid-20th century figural design made by the John Wright Company, a cast metal foundry in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. The curl on the bush behind the cowboy forms the opener tool for removing bottle caps.
Not so long ago in history cork lined tin bottle caps kept the contents of beverage bottles fresh from factory to consumer. Before the advent of the twist-off variety there was only way to free bottle contents - use a bottle opener to remove the cap. Bottle cap removal devices were many and varied, most often they were just a simple flat steel piece with tools on either end for opening a tin can or popping a bottle cap. But others came in figural form, in many shapes and themes that often appealed to a sense of whimsey. People began collecting bottle openers even before bottle caps became obsolete and continue to collect them today. Which explains why reproduction wholesalers like stocking these knock-offs of popular (and valuable) original designs.
John Wright made slight variations of this particular cowboy bottle opener, using different metals, hat shapes, and paint effects. But that company became well known for their fine casting quality and attention to detail. They never made an example as poorly cast or painted as the item shown here in this listing.
The chippy paint and rust were artificially added to give the illusion of time-worn age to this contemporary new example, which at the same time incongruously still wears a new black and gold foil "Made in China" sticker underneath. The country of manufacture sticker awaits its opportunity to fall off, or be removed, on its way to the secondary market, to be followed immediately by an incorrect identification as a 'vintage' John Wright product.
We've included a picture in this listing of the mark the John Wright Company stamped on the base of original examples, for comparison. As this mark could end up being faked, too, however, the better method for identifying the reproductions of this design would be to simply take note of the rough surface and poor quality of paint decoration on that surface.
Measures 4 3/4 inches tall.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.