1928 Hubley Cast Iron Bulldog
The 1928 Hubley Cast Iron Bulldog is a life-size cast-iron bulldog garden ornament, the only one of its type in existence.
The ornament, which stands 18 inches high and 27 inches long, was made around 1928 by the Hubley Manufacturing Co., of Lancaster, Pa, who were well-known for their children's toys such as train sets and cap guns.
In the book 'Metal Goods – Hubley Price Guide' by expert Ron Rittenhouse, the ornament's origins are described by a former Hubley employee.
It states that the dog figure was modeled on a dog belonging to Joseph L. Brenneman Sr., Hubley’s treasurer in the late 1920s. A California artist approached Brenneman and asked if he could use the dog as a model, to which Brenneman agreed. Hubley then negotiated a contract to produce figures from the artist’s original.
The artist created a realistic, life-size plaster-of-Paris figure of the bulldog’s likeness, and the prototype was then sent off to the Hubley factory.
Two painted-lead sample dogs were produced from the artist’s mold, with the intention being to market further dog figures at $35 apiece to a wealthy clientele for display in their gardens.
However, the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent Great Depression forced the company to cut back its production, and the ornaments were never produced. The mould was destroyed, and one of the two ornaments was melted down for its metal content.
The one surviving canine was purchased by Hubley employee Alvin Koser, and was placed up for sale through Morphy Auctions in April 2011 with an estimated price of $20,000 - $25,000.