A fabulous early 20th Century Art Deco stylised plated bronze car mascot in the form of a seated polar bear exhibiting fine colour and a smooth tactile surface with accentuating detail; raised on a rectangular black marble base accessory to allow it to be used as a paperweight/ desk ornament .
Height: 13 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Materials: Nickel Plated Bronze
The first "hood ornament" was a sun-crested falcon (to bring good luck) mounted on Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun's chariot.
In the early years, automobiles had their radiator caps outside of the hood and on top of the grille which also served as an indicator of the temperature of the engine's coolant fluid. The Boyce MotoMeter Company was issued a patent in 1912 for a radiator cap that incorporated a thermometer that was visible to the driver with a sensor that measured the heat of the water vapor, rather than the water itself. This became a useful gauge for the driver because many early engines did not have water pumps, but a circulation system based on the "thermo-syphon" principle as in the Ford Model T.
The "exposed radiator cap became a focal point for automobile personalization."
Hood ornaments were popular in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, with many automakers fitting them to their vehicles. Moreover, a healthy business was created in the supply of accessory mascots available to anyone who wanted to add a hood ornament or car mascot to their automobile. Most companies like Desmo and Smith's are now out of business with only Louis Lejeune Ltd. in England surviving. Sculptors such as Bazin, Paillet, Sykes, Renevey, and Lejeune all created finely detailed sculptures in miniature.
The Art Deco Period
The Art Deco Period: although Art Deco derives its name from the great 1925 Paris Exhibition, ‘L’Exposition Internatlionale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes’, the term is now generally applied to the typical artistic productions of the 1920’s and 1930’s. It might best be characterised as an attempt to unite arts with industry, embracing the machine age and repudiating the old antithesis of ‘Fine’ and ‘Industrial’ art. The sources of the Art Deco movement include Egyptian and Mayan Art, Cubisim, Fauvism and Expressionism, heavily influencing the chief force underlying all Art Deco with the emphasis upon geometric patterns.