Change in the Weather
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But there are collectors who avoid mass-produced lightening weathervanes. Some farmers, due to either their original vane being damaged or simply because of a creative personality, would make their own ornamental figures for their lightning rods. These one-of-a-kind, homemade items are prized as folk art.
The poor lightning rods themselves, however, have few fans. Ask about lightning rods and you will get weathervanes this, glass balls that. Without their attachments, the spare, unassuming copper poles lack something. For the collector who must have the original parts, however, a complete set-up demands an original rod. Tracking down the right rod can be complicated by the fact that most lightning rod companies were regional. National and Kretzer lightning rods can be found most easily around St. Louis, where they were first produced, and some Nebraska collectors are still partial to the Lincoln-produced Shinn rods.
No matter which part or brand collectors choose to focus their attentions on, Eileen Kelly says that, in her opinion, the lightning rods' beauty is only a small part of why people want to collect them. 'Lightning rods are a real connection to a rural past. People today want to keep that feeling alive of what they see as a simpler time.'
Ted Storb provided the photos of the weathervanes on the opening page of this article and of the ram on page 14. He and his wife, Jeanne, own and operate Storb Antiques in Rowayton, Conn. They can be reached at 319B Rowayton Ave., Rowayton, Conn., 06853; (203) 866-6244.
Eileen Kelly provided all the ephemera pictured above. She and Tim Cagle edit Crown Point, a lightning rod collector's magazine. For a copy, contact them at P.O. Box 23, Winfiel
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