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These adorable owl bookends were designed and copyrighted by Daniel C. French (sculptor), and were manufactured exclusively by the Jennings Brothers, as noted by the paper company tag on the bottom of the bookends. Excellent condition.
Jennings Brothers Company Description:
Jennings Brothers, usually known as "JB" among bookend enthusiasts, was created around 1891 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, by Edward Austin Jennings. The Jennings Brothers Manufacturing Company evolved into a multi-generational business which provided some of the most finely crafted art metal pieces existing today. Their typical methods of production required meticulous techniques which did not lend themselves well to machine-directed mass production, but rather depended upon the direct handiwork of expert artists, sculptors, and metal craftsmen. By the late 1940s, procuring such artists and utilizing their techniques were of such economic burden to art metal crafters that monetary survival became a precarious situation. In 1941 the company was threatened by a fire that caused $100,000 damage, overcame 13 firemen, and gutted the building, but they were able to resume business.
All Jennings Brothers pieces are marked somewhere with the letters JB. On the other hand since the molds of the company were purchased by the Philadelphia Manufacturing Company in the 1960s, recently manufactured examples of Jennings Brothers designs do exist. For instance, New Bedford Whaler has been seen as the original JB piece, as well as a recent reissue by PMC. Usually, the patina of the more recent pieces is easily discerned from the much earlier original JB creations. Sometimes the JB markings are not easily visible, but are instead placed in very out-of-the-way locations. JB pieces were made only of gray metal, but JB was also known for a silver-plating process they developed, so some silverplate pieces are likely to be seen. Their finishing processes made pieces of such quality that bronze finishes on cast gray metal pieces are easily mistaken for solid bronze.
For more information see:
Kuritzky, Louis, and Charles De Costa. Collector's Encyclopedia of Bookends: Identification & Values. Paducah, KY: Collector, 2006.
Name: Owl Couple
Maker: Jennings Brothers
Date: ca 1929
Material: Gray Metal
Markings: Pat. Applied for JB 2697 Paper Tag: "Designed and copyrighted by Daniel C. French. Sculptor. Alma B Foureman Manufactured exclusively by The Jennings Bros. Mfg. Co. Bridgeport, Conn."
Rarity ratings are as per Collectors Encyclopedia of Bookends, Kuritzky L and De Costa C, Collector Books, (Publishers) 2006
1-2 VERY COMMON
Consistently available online or in antique malls at all times
Available with regularity, typically seen several times each week online; found with ease in malls or shows
In online sales, may be seen as often as several times per month. Sporadically found at shows or shops
In online sales, seen only a few times per year. Seen at shows and antiques shops rarely
The pair has only been seen once by the authors