The Cross House

Sleepless…in Emporia

This is the 1894 drawing of the long-lost weathervane finial to the carriage house octagon tower. I want this BAD. I toss and turn at night because my lust is so great. As I shower, I am thinking about it. While perusing the aisles in the grocery store, I am thinking about it.


Of course, I sent the drawing to my favorite people on earth, the WF Norman Company. But…but…they no longer make weathervanes, as people can now buy them for $69.99 from China.


However, they suggested a company in California which should be able to make the above for me. And I, forthwith, sent them a detailed email.

I fear the cost though.

More tossing and turning tonight, no doubt.

I also sent another email to WF Norman…


What if, I inquired, they made me up the base, but replaced the weathervane with a swirl tippy-top matching the one they created for the turret finial? I did this quick sketch of just an outline. They replied with…


…this. Yeh! I maybe want one like that! They also stated that THIS would cost like $2,000. OUCH! But, rather than make all the parts eight-sided (a ton of work), if the made the parts all round, they could cut the cost in half. So, half an ouch. I replied with…


…this. How about, I asked, if we did a octagon base, with round parts above? I await their answer.


ANOTHER possibility is that Norman might make the base, and the weathervane company the weathervane portion.

OR, I go with the last drawing, but the tippy-top swirl could just pull out, and a weather-vane could be dropped in at some point down the road.

Oh dear. They will be some fierce tossing & turning tonight!




7 Responses to Sleepless…in Emporia

  1. Apparently, I should not stay up late replying to blogs after having my brain fried by the sun, AND a glass of wine… because I put a reply meant for this post on the previous post… stick a fork in me, ’cause I’m done!

  2. It may help that I know of a supplier of weather vanes and lightning rods. The website is Slate Roof Central. The webmaster is Joseph Jenkins. He is a fine man, and very knowledgeable. He is extremely helpful.

  3. What a dandy weathervane Ross! Just curious, can you tell if there were N S E W directionals? I work seasonally at an 18th century site called Historic Walnford here in New Jersey. When they took down our weathervane, it turned out to be full of holes as apparently someone long ago had used it for target practice. Also, the ball it turned on proved to be an old toilet bowl float! Hey, from that distance, who can tell?!

    I love your site…I’ve spent many an hour following your progress. Go get ’em tiger!

  4. I have two weather vanes. One on top of my barn and one on my home on cape cod. The one on cape cod unscrewed on the pole and fell. What you have to do I found out is drill holes in the bottom of the weather vanes to allow rain water to get out. The seams open up after years of spinning, and they fill up with water. I drilled holes on the barn weather vane 20 years ago and everything is working fine. I think the holes where shot at the weather vanes of old ,to get them spinning again and get water out and they didn’t have to get on the roof.

  5. Ross, I know you have talked about the cresting that was on the roofline; have you ever thought about lightning rods? I have been shopping for them online recently for my house, debating whether to have them installed…there are some out there that look vintage, some even made like weather vanes. One of my employees is from West Virginia, and her sister there recently lost her newly restored Queen Anne to a fire caused by lightning. To have spent 10 years restoring a house, just to lose it all within a matter of 2 hours…definitely something to consider. Like your house, mine has a high peak roof, and is one of the highest points in the neighborhood.

    • The turret was clearly struck by lighting at some point. Its attic shows fire damage, and an exploded roof joist.


      The main attic burned in the 1960s. I suspect lighting. This my be related to the turret strike. I don’t know.

      So, yes, I do plan on installing lightning rods.

      • Tall pointy objects (such as lightning rods) actually attract lightning strikes. There is a Nikola Tesla patent for an improved lightning rod (US patent 1,266,175) that greatly reduces the likelihood of a strike in the vicinity.

        See this.

        I don’t know if anyone manufactures them, but it would not be hard to make one. He shows one that doubles as a chimney cover.

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