Antique bronze-clad skull and grimoire bookends by Armor Bronze circa 1922
These bookends are the perfect adornments for your horror collection. With the paint worn off to just the right degree, no one will mistake these nearly century-old antiques for dollar store Halloween decorations.
These macabre pieces were made by Armor Bronze (a.k.a. the National Metalizing Company) around 1922 in New York City. They were listed in a 1922 Armor Bronze catalog and signed by the company on the back.
Armor Bronze is a well-known quality bookend manufacturer and many of their products have stood the test of time. Their work is identifiable by their iconic shield signature. In the 1920s, they made bookends comprised of a plaster core encased in a substantial layer of bronze. These are known as bronze-clad, bronze-armored, or weighted bronze bookends. They were able to create these using the laborious electroforming process.
The electroforming process went roughly as follows. First, the manufacturer would create a plaster cast of the master sculpture and spray it with an electrically conductive coating. Then, they would hang the cast in a tank of plating solution while running an electric current through it via a wire in its base. Over the course of several days the cast would build up a coating of bronze. Then the manufacturer would remove the product from the tank and apply the finishing touches. The hallmark of electroformed bronze is the indentation in the product's base where the wire was severed.
Each bookend is about 4" wide, 5" deep, and 5 1/2" tall. Together these pieces weigh about 7 3/4 pounds.