Wednesday, January 4, 2012

INTO THE WILD, CIRCA 1912: Follow That Bull Moose Pin

"Pinterest" circa 1912: Celluloid and brass campaign button 
supporting Teddy Roosevelt's Bull-Moose Party 
Maker: Unknown

Around the time Leon Leonwood Bean was developing a market for his duck boot, Gustav Manz's workshop was turning out figural Moose and Grizzly Bear lapel pins by the dozens for the same gents to wear on their return from hunting trips in Maine. Manz's circa 1910, 14k gold moose scarf or tie-pin attracted orders from loyal retail clients like Gorham, Marcus & Co, Tiffany, Black Starr & Frost, Bigelow, Kennard and Chicago jeweler Ferdinand Hotz. Manz's stockbooks allude to elk, deer and mountain sheep as well. An entry form for the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 indicates a gold "Moose" pendant carved by Gustav Manz was sent to the exhibit (the word "Moose" is crossed out and overwritten with "Deer" suggesting a last minute substitution, or perhaps a case of mistaken identity corrected when the piece arrived from New York). 

An entry in Manz's ledger, above, shows numerous sales of a moose scarfpin between 1910 and 1912. Below: Manz's gouache rendering of a pendant-brooch design featuring the head of a moose (or perhaps a Black Forest stag) within an oak leaf surround. Drawing (c) Gustav Manz LLC

At the time of L.L. Bean's death, in 1967, his mail-order sporting goods concern was worth $3.5 million; this year, the company celebrates its 100th anniversary while duck boots currently occupy Wall Street... And we wonder: where have all those jaunty Bull-Moose tie-tacks gone?

L.L. Bean grandson Leon Gorman 
(c) LL Bean


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