Antique Lightning Rods
Antique Lightning Rods are often regarded as regarded as works of folk art, in a similar manner to weathervanes and other decorative items of metalwork.
History & Description
A lightning rod is an object made of metal that is mounted on top of a building designed to protect it in the event of lightning strike.
Also known as a lightning conductor, the object is engineered so that lightning will strike the rod and be conducted through the wire to the ground rather than passing through the building, which could cause a fire or result in electrocution.
Although universally made of high-conductive metals such as iron and copper, there are various types of lightning rods, all featuring different designs and thicknesses. The most common is the round rod, which is simply a cylindrical pole. However, there are twisted rods or those in the shape of a star. In addition, rods with ornate tips are also highly sought after by collectors.
Guide for collectors
As a general rule, antique lighting rods do not bear a maker’s mark, which means that dating and identifying them can be extremely difficult.
The most valuable antique items are those that are attached with decorative weathervanes or have one or more lightning rod balls - these were ornamental items placed on the object and were made of glass or ceramics.
Notable auction sales
On October 1st 2011 at Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals in Knoxville, Tennessee, a wrought iron and copper lightning rod with blue stained glass weathervane, circa late-nineteenth century, realised a price of $225.
On July 18th 2008 at Dotta Auction Company Inc. in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, an iron lightning rod with ornate weathervane realised a price of $225.
On May 15th 2005 at Dirk Soulis Auctions in Lone Jack, Missouri, a lightning rod with impressed milk glass ball realised a price of $90.
On December 14th 2007 at DuMouchelles in Detroit, Michigan, a copper lightning rod with light blue glass ball realised a price of $60.