Well, good for you! This post is not about the Muffin Man that lives on Drury Lane. It is about the Pretzel Man!
If you read our prior post about the Kensington Giftware line, then you know the Great Depression of 1929 influenced many companies to reimagine their products in creative ways to survive. Chase Co., primarily known for plumbing fittings, was no exception. Reinventing itself, Chase Co. quickly and wisely diversified making household items from available plumbing stock by collaborating with fashionable designers such as Lurelle Guild, Harry Laylon, Russell Wright and Walter Von Nessen. Using their designs, Chase Co. produced both beautiful and useful items for every occasion. In some cases, the items were just for fun!
The signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act into law on March 22, 1933 by President Franklin Roosevelt, legalized beer and wine with low alcohol content. Ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment on December 5, 1933 repealed the Eighteenth Amendment. The end of prohibition influenced the development of bar-ware on a massive scale by many companies and directly lead to the whimsical Pretzel Man.
From the fertile mind of Lurelle Guild, he was depicted in 1933 advertisements and was part of the 1934-1936 Chase catalog in a polished copper finish with a brass spike. A New York Herald Tribune article from June 25, 1933 described this fellow as “frivolous” – meant in the kindest way, of course! The cost? $1.00. Although featured in polished chrome in the ad shown above (and at an advertised cost of $1.75), he did not make an appearance in the Chase Co. catalog with this finish until 1935. Very little information is available about this fellow beyond the obvious.
In copper, he would fall into the “hard to find” range at a cost of $100-$120. The chrome would be in the “difficult to find” range and you can expect to pay $180-$200. In either version, it is incomplete without the spike. As seen above, I am fortunate to own a copper one, with it’s spike, found for half the estimated value. He is approximately 9 inches wide and 16 inches tall. More than half the height is the spike. A word of caution, the spike is very long and can be dangerous. Be sure to use with caution.
Several of the copper version are currently available on popular auction sites. One is complete and a reasonable $110.00 asking price. Another one is for sale at a whopping $495 and missing the spike!
I hope you enjoyed this brief post about a fun deco collectible. (And thanks to my “hand models” – Susanna, Jonathan and Anthony.)
Chris and Anthony (The Freakin’, Tiquen’ Guys)
If you enjoyed spending time with the Pretzelman you might enjoy these earlier Driving For Deco Posts –
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