Whether it’s the sudden appearance of quality copper weathervanes or even a recent resurgence in classic automobiles, there seems to be two conflicting trends in this high-tech world of ours: Either people completely endorse all things technological and turn their homes into living computers–or, they tend to cling harder than ever to the traditions of the past.
The weather vane has been part of human culture dating all the way back to the time of the Romans. The sudden reemergence of the weathervane in popular culture and appearance on the rooftops of homes in recent years means that it seems to be making a comeback. This newfound popularity is occurring despite the fact that we can learn more about the weather from a 30-second newsbyte than we could from staring at a wind vane all day! So what explains this newfound love affair with quality copper weathervanes and other finials?
The true collectible copper weathervanes were typically made in between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of WWII. Although not exactly hand-crafted like the ones prior to the Civil War, this period of weathervane construction saw the widespread use of molds create the various shapes typical to the craft, including: Horses, Roosters, Fish, Deer, and especially Horses. The halves of the molds were often joined with solder or some form of welding and this technique proved very effective because many of the antique copper weathervanes available today are still in good shape and actually work.
Of course, one concern with anything made out of copper, including weathervanes, is the process which creates patina. It generally takes about 5 years for copper weathervanes to develop that green patina they are so famous for. However, many manufactures of contemporary weather vanes made from copper have developed a process that creates the patina through a chemical reaction so that the buyer can have what appears to be a classic vane sitting atop their rooftop–but without the big expense that comes from buying an authentic copper weathervane from generations past.
Truthfully, none of us truly need any kind of weather vane or finial perched atop our homes these days. Even people who make their living in agriculture and who thus depend upon the weather can easily log on to a website or flip on the television to find out the latest satellite images of what is happening in their area. No, there is something else driving the recent rise in popularity of premium contemporary weathervanes and it is a basic yearning for simpler times. While it may not eliminate any of the modern pressures, driving home to a place with a quality copper weathervane perched atop the roof can alleviate the stresses for just a minute and remind us of what truly matters when we step through that front door.