Thursday, January 8, 2009

Travelers Insurance Company Inkwell

This highly-prized metal souvenir building and inkwell was created in 1924 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary (1864-1924) of the Travelers Indemnity and Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The detail of this building replica is incredible with window panes and even a 3rd floor pedestrian bridge between buildings included. The tallest of the four buildings in the complex stands about 7" high and the base measures 5 1/4" x 5." Around the four sides of the base are the words: "The Travelers Insurance Company" "1864 The Travelers Hartford Connecticut 1924 " "The Travelers Indemnity Company" and finally "60th Anniversary Convention” In very tiny lettering a makers mark reading “Whitehead Hoag” and “Made in the USA” are also written on the beveled base. The original finish has a wonderful aged bronze patina. Recently, three of these inkwells sold on ebay - all in different condition and all for different prices. The first had a very damaged base corner and was missing the inkwell cover but included the glass insert. The auction ended at $170. The second Travelers was in excellent condition, but was missing glass inkwell insert. The ebay auction ended on this one at $710. The third also was missing the glass inkwell insert and the tip on the tallest building had been broken at come point and then professionally replaced by Microcosms. The ebay auction ended on this one at $1,325 - proving the variations in condition and auction timing can yield wildly different results. Other versions of the Travelers insurance building include those encased in Lucite. The company, now part of The Travelers Companies, has had many firsts in the history of insurance, including the first automobile, commercial airline and space travel policies. The first section of the Travelers building, built in 1906, was the Renaissance Revival-style structure facing Main Street in Hartford. The building began to expand southwards with the 527-foot pointed tower, featuring classical influences designed by architect Donn Barber. This 24-story section was completed in 1919, at which time it was the tallest building in New England and the seventh tallest in the world. In 1963, after the removal of some adjacent buildings between the tower and the Wadsworth Atheneum, a new grand entrance plaza was created facing south. At the 27th floor is a loggia, serving as an open observation area, the four corners of its roof being supported by Doric columns. The roof of the loggia, or cupola, is pyramidal in shape, sloping toward a finial surmounted by a cluster of gold-colored metal globes varying from four to 20 inches in diameter. The finial was damaged in a 1996 wind storm, and no longer sits atop the tower. Above the cupola, at the 36th floor level, is a beacon which emits a bluish light, visible for many miles, serving as a guide for night-flying aircraft. Now called the Travelers Tower, the building’s observation deck is open to the public on weekdays from May through October, free of charge. Falcons seem to also enjoy the tower’s view. It became a nesting site for Peregrine Falcons, an endangered species.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have to find the top of one to get mine fixed!!! SD

Related Posts with Thumbnails