Featured Image: Duck and Chick Weathervane in precious metals
Adding both charm and whimsical functionality to your outdoor space, a weathervane is the timeless garden accessory that not only enhances aesthetics but also brings a touch of practicality to your surroundings.
Read on for a crash course in weathervane construction and features, and learn more about Fountainful's partnership with industry leader West Coast Weather Vanes that gives you a free design consultation with an artisan!
The first documented weathervane dates back over 2,000 years to Athens. Greek astronomer Andronicus constructed it to resemble the Greek sea god Triton. It was crafted in bronze and had a fish's body and a human's head and torso.
Artist's interpretation of the first recorded weathervane in history.
"Triton" by Andronicus.
Despite manufacturing process improvements, little has changed in almost 2,000 years where weathervanes are concerned. They still rely on quality, time-tested materials, sturdy construction, and weather patterns.
These days, weathervanes are mainly ornamental – made from copper and bronze or other premium materials – depicting animals or ships. It’s common to see weathervanes on rooftops, tables, fence posts, or posted in a garden while bringing charm, whimsy and functionality to their space.
This guitar creation displays each traditional component of a weathervane: ornament, arrow (the guitar neck in this case), directional letters, and globe.
A weathervane traditionally has four components that work in unison to create its look:
- Ornament: This is the largest section of the weathervane and is usually decorative, representing something special to you!
- Arrow: This is attached to the ornament and both will move according to wind direction.
- Directional Letters: A weathervane will likely have North, East, South, and West markings fixed to its central rod.
- Globe: There will usually be a small globe on the rod, just below the directions. This is decorative and not used for determining wind direction.
A diverse mix of materials and finishes adorn this family pennant style weathervane.
Your artisan partner builds weathervanes from premium, precious, and durable materials such as copper, brass, and gold leaf. These metal materials age exceptionally well, taking on a beautiful, weathered patina. Stained glass vanes are likewise timelessly elegant.
A well made weathervane will coexist harmoniously with the weather and environment around it, resisting decay but embracing the elements and aging like fine wine.
Maybe you're after something more contemporary? Stainless steel and aluminum can be used to create a weathervane ideal for a modern structure. When combined with colorful finishes, they’re a contemporary and vibrant addition to your residence or commercial space.
Depending on the exact finish and material selected, steel and aluminum weathervanes can be particularly rust resistant, adding a low maintenance functionality to their sleek appearance.
➤ Bonus: “Lucky Pennies” – there’s a tradition in weathervane making that dates back to Victorian times of including a penny from the year of completion inside of the sculpture. This tradition will be continued with your custom weathervane! And if you’re purchasing your weathervane for a special event or celebration, pennies can be included for almost any year to commemorate the occasion.
Weathervane Mounting Options
A lovely U.S. flag weathervane posted in a garden.
Weathervanes, by design, are functional devices built to withstand the elements. This provides a diverse range of mounting options for various settings.
- Garden Mounting. One of the most popular spaces for a weathervane is the garden, where they are often mounted onto a stake or pedestal, adding an artistic flourish to the grounds. In this environment, as the wind moves the weather vane, it indicates direction.
- Rooftop Mounting. Whether you place it on a cupola, chimney, or peak, a roof-mounted weathervane adds a whimsical yet luxurious sophistication to your home. Many coastal homes and farmhouses traditionally featured weathervanes.
- Bracket Mounting. A wall-mounted bracket lets you attach your weathervane to vertical surfaces such as walls and fence posts, combining stylish design aesthetics with functionality.
Weathervane Design Themes
Stunning work by the artisans capturing the likeness of this customer's beloved dog in a variety of precious metals!
As long as a weathervane performs its primary task of indicating which direction the wind is blowing FROM, it can be as whimsical and creative as your imagination allows. For those interested in knowing some of the most commonly chosen themes for inspiration, check out this list:
- Nautical. Examples: ships, anchors, sailboats, lighthouses. Often used on coastal homes or buildings, these sea-themed weathervanes embrace lakes and oceans and everything related to them. If you live on the coast or own a business nearby, these make for a beautiful, locally-inspired accent piece.
- Animals and Wilderness. Examples: dogs, roosters, horses, eagles, trees, mountains, and even mythical creatures like dragons. Nature-type motifs are great for farmhouses, eco-lodges, backpacker trails, stables, safaris, and more. Even if you're not in a rural setting, a wilderness weathervane will bring nature closer to home in all environments – urban settings included.
- Hobbies and Interests. Examples: guitars, cars, sport scenes, cooking utensils. A custom weathervane is made-to-order, meaning the only limit (generally) is your imagination. Why not incorporate your life’s passion or favorite hobby into the design?
A Brief History of Weathervanes
Ancient civilizations used weathervanes to confirm wind direction for agricultural and maritime activities. Over time, function and decoration combined so that weathervanes became ornamental pieces used in back gardens, church steeples, and barns. Weathervanes increased in popularity in the 19th century, which saw more ornamental designs with the directional N-E-S-W letters.
While weathervanes today are not primarily needed for directional guidance, they are cherished for their nostalgic, craftsman, and aesthetic qualities.
Fountainful's Professional Partnership with West Coast Weathervanes
A whimsical fairy & moon weathervane sits atop this customer's gazebo.
Fountainful, a leader within the handcrafted fountain, bird bath, and garden industry, is proud to work alongside West Coast Weather Vanes to bring a unique, exquisite collection of bespoke weathervanes to a wider audience.
Our partnership combines Fountainful's passion for reaching nature enthusiasts with the remarkable craftsmanship of West Coast Weather Vanes and their 35+ years of unsurpassed expertise in handcrafting custom pieces.
From classic to contemporary, antique to sleek, we hope you’ve learned more about the opportunity to work with a dedicated artisan on something truly unique for your home, business, or location of choice.
Request your free consultation with an artisan today and learn more about how weathervanes embody unparalleled craftsmanship and design, enriching your interaction with the world around you.
Questions about custom weathervanes? We’re here to help! Contact us.