Category Archives: J. L. Mott

J. Fitzhugh Thornton Memorial Fountain

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The drinking fountain topped with the statue of an Indian is located at the traffic circle at Thorton Avenue & Gracely Drive (known as Thornton Triangle) in the Saylor Park neighborhood. It is known by several names: J. Fitzhugh Thornton Memorial, the Fernbank Indian, Sayler Park Indian, and Tecumseh after the Shawnee leader who led the resistance against the American settlement of the Ohio and Indiana territories in the early 19th century.

It was erected on January 15, 1912 in the village of Fernbank in memory of John Fitzhugh Thornton by his wife Eliza. It was dedicated on June 22, 1912.

The flood of 1937, which followed the wettest January ever recorded, left 100,000 people homeless. It also left the drinking fountain partially submerged.

In 1940 the structure was struck by a car knocking the statue to the ground. Believed to be irreparable, it was sold to an antiques dealer in Indiana for $10. After a public outcry, funds were raised to purchase the statue from the dealer, and it was reinstalled on April 14, 1941 facing River Road until residents complained that it was facing in the wrong direction.

In 1965 it was again hit by a car causing damage and resurrected on Feb. 9, 1966 with substandard repairs allowing rust to cause deterioration of the statue. A call to restore it in 1979 was not heeded until 2000 when the park department decided to recast the statue in bronze. It was rededicated on October 5, 2003. The statue has been designated a local historic landmark by the City of Cincinnati.

The statue of an Indian was originally a wood carving created by Samuel Anderson Robb who was the leading cigar store Indian peddler. It was carved for William Demuth & Co. who cast it in zinc and advertised it in his catalog as “No. 53 Indian Chief.” In 1873, the J.L. Mott Iron Works purchased the design and listed it in their catalog of statuary. The statue was also offered atop a cast iron drinking fountain.

The fountain was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works and sat on a circular plinth with dimensions of 5ft. 9ins. to the top of the head and 6ft. 6ins. to the top of the feathers. A large square base contained panels for dedication on four sides; the panel at the front of the structure contains the legend,  Erected In Memory Of / J. Fitzhugh Thornton / By His Wife / Eliza M. Thornton / January 15, 1912. Above is a lunette containing a frieze with lion mascarons. A column extends above with laurel decoration and guilloche. The capital supports the Indian figure.

In his right hand the Indian Chief holds an arrow, and in his left hand he holds a bow attached to a base near his left foot, which rests on a rock. (This stance is called contrapposto, where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed.) A tree stump behind his right leg balances the sculpture. He is dressed in a headband containing three feathers, a bear claw necklace, a cloak, a breechcloth (fabric tucked into a belt that covered the front and back), fringed leggings and moccasins.

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Glossary

  • Capital, The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Guilloche, Decorative engraving technique of two or more bands twisted over each other in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern
  • Lunette, The half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

Hudson-Fulton Monument

Location: Beacon, New York State, USA

As part of the town’s tribute to the 300th anniversary of the Hudson-Fulton celebration of 1909*, Reverend Thomas Elliott, a retired clergyman, initiated a memorial fund from public donations to purchase a fountain.
(*The 300th anniversary celebration of explorer Henry Hudson’s journey up the Hudson River, and the 100th birthday of inventor and engineer Robert Fulton’s trip on the same river in his steamboat Clermont.)

Installation of the fountain was delayed due to tardy donations and electrical issues (lights were installed on the north and south sides of the memorial to mirror passing vessels which were lit up at dusk.) The unveiling and dedication eventually took place on June 19, 1911 at the location of Bank Square.

A circular granite base incorporated a trough for horses and a smaller trough at ground level for the use of dogs. The cast iron structure seated on a square granite block was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. The bronzed iron pedestal supported a statue of Hebe.

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On alternate sides of the base, there is a lunette containing a lion mascaron within armoria, flanked by acanthus, and an inscription in bas-relief; Hudson-Fulton 1909. The pedestal which repeated the mascaron with fleur de lys, originally supported two consoles bearing globe lanterns. A laurel frieze is situated beneath the cornice.

The capital supports a statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, classically dressed in flowing robes. Standing contrapposto she holds a pitcher at her right side and a bowl in her raised left hand. The figure was sculpted by Bertel Thorwaldsen.

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Following the advent of the automobile, the need for horse watering troughs declined, and in 1927 the fountain was removed. The statue and pedestal were placed in storage.
Four years later in 1931, the West End Men’s Community Club petitioned for the resurrection of the statue. It was erected facing the river on a triangular plot of land near the southeast corner of Verplanck Avenue and Willow Street which was donated by Mrs. Lewis Tompkins.

Restoration and bronzing of the statue was undertaken by Tallix, Inc. in 2000.

Glossary
• Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
• Armoria, shield, coat of arms, crest
• Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
• Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
• Console, a decorative bracket support element
• Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
• Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
• Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
• Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
• Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
• Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

Bascom Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Prospect Park Troy, NYS, USA

Henry Clay Bascom was a prominent business man, owner of the Vedder Pattern Works, a candidate for Governor of New York State, and a well-known Prohibitionist. His wife, Ellen Lucina Forbes Bascom, was a member and president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Lansingburg, New York. She donated a drinking fountain to the City of Troy in memory of her husband, I wish to tender hereby to the city of Troy a memorial to the late H. Clay Bascom to take the form of a drinking fountain for man and beast to be erected in Prospect Park, where I trust its pure and cooling waters may symbolize the principles which were so dear to the one whose memory it will commemorate.”

It was erected in Prospect Park in 1907 south of the Warren mansion on the west side of Prospect Avenue. An engraved dedication on the front of the fountain read: H. Clay Bascom Memorial Fountain, Presented to the City of Troy by Ellen F. Bascom, 1907.

The 15’ 3” tall cast iron structure manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York was seated on a square base. A large fluted demi-lune trough for horses was located at the front of the fountain with a trough for dogs at ground level which was filled with overflow water.

On four sides, there was a lunette containing a lion mascaron within armoria, flanked by acanthus. Two demi-lune basins on opposite sides offered refreshment to humans; and anchored adjacent to the basins were drinking cups suspended on chains. Faucets were operated by pressing metal buttons which released a flow of water over a system of coils encased in ice to provide cool refreshment. A column extending above repeated the mascaron with fleur de lys. A laurel frieze was situated beneath the cornice. (In 1908 a citizen donated two consoles bearing globe lanterns.)

The capital supported a statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, classically dressed in flowing robes.  Standing contrapposto she held a pitcher at her right side and a bowl in her raised left hand. The figure five feet in height was sculpted by Bertel Thorwaldsen.

Deterioration of the cast iron structure prompted its removal in 1943.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Armoria, shield, coat of arms, crest
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal

 

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Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Armoria, shield, coat of arms, crest
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal

 

Metuchen Fountain and Horse Trough

Location: Metuchen, NJ, USA

In the early years of the 20th century a triangle of land at the Intersection of Oak and Middlesex Avenues was donated by Metuchen Building and Loan to house a public drinking fountain/horse trough. Following fundraising efforts, which included ball games and minstrel shows, the fountain was purchased by the Woodwild Park Association, and was erected in 1903 at the edge of the road where it was accessible to horses.

With the advent of the motor vehicle it became a traffic obstacle and was moved back from the edge of the road where it currently remains. The structure is maintained by members of the Woodwild Park Association and was restored in the 1980s. In 2016, an evaluation of the structure revealed substantial corrosion resulting in the removal of the fountain to Alexander City, Alabama where it will be restored by the restoration company, Robinson Iron.

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Casting number 50 manufactured by J.L. Mott Iron Works consists of a square base with four inset panels supporting a central column with additional panels. A fluted demi-lune trough for watering horses is located on one side, and there was originally a smaller basin at ground level for dogs. On the opposite side a basin supported by console was available for people. The cornice beneath the capital is decorated with a frieze of acanthus. A large capped urn is seated on a three tiered acroter.

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Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings