Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Muddy Monday: Pint-sized Drafts On Tap

This is no pub, but the Drafts are on tap today. 

Hagen-Renaker began producing Maureen Love's design of the Miniature Draft Horse in Harness (mold # A-341) in Monrovia, but only for the year of 1957. The sculpture is just as cute as the dickens, and positively radiates "Old Time Brewery Hitch" draft horse. 

The first appearance of Draft Horse in Harness, on the Spring 1957 order form.

Normally, the Monrovia version looks like this, with silver harness collar and buckles, and red mane "bobs" (technical term in braiding drafts is "rosettes") and ribbons in the mane and tail.

The yellow tint to the clear glaze is typical for HRs of the time.
This is shown on other examples of HR molds in my blog, here.

I'd heard about a couple unfinished examples that escaped the factory, from various collectors, over the years. What is interesting is that they are not all in the same stage of incompletion. Some have no eyes, some have no ribbon color, some lack the silver. 

The unfinished example on the left has eyes, but no silver nor red.

Photo courtesy of Hagen-Renaker: Through the Years 
by Nancy Kelly, Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

This next example lacks eyes, silver, the red ribbons, and a final layer of black on the harness leather, to make it opaque. He has an ear chip that was factory glazed over, then ground with a dremel by a collector.

These exhibit the same level of mold detail and airbrushed underglaze.

The mold detail in the mane is excellent. 
The undecorated version makes it possible to see the tiny hardware Maureen sculpted on the collar.

Fall 1979 order form

San Dimas mini Draft in Harness (Spring 1979 - Fall 1985) is represented by two variations of chestnut gloss. This is the early San Dimas chestnut, a high-contrast, directionally-shaded finish.

San Dimas Chestnut

It is normal for this era to not have ribbons on the mane or tail.
This is not to be confused with the unfinished factory goofs.

The 1999-2002 version of HR's Draft in Harness was a chestnut with no metallic accents, but it does have blue bobs/rosettes and ribbons in his mane and tail. 

Test, regular Monrovia, San Dimas variation, and 1999-2002 version.
Photo courtesy Ed Alcorn, The Hagen-Renaker Online Museum.

Do you see something unusual in that photo? One Draft is noticeably shorter that the others, and the blue-bobs must also be shorter, judging by his hoof placement.

A variant of San Dimas chestnut is a smaller mold than the others. It looks even smaller when it is a thick casting, and it shrinks a bit more. This one is nearly a quarter of an inch shorter!

The thick casting in the middle weighs .3 oz more, but that's not the only reason it's smaller.

The belly sticker gives the smaller version a timeframe of early to mid-1980's.

Note difference in airbrushing style.

Overall, a mold size reduction, due to remolding down one generation. This model would have fishtailed (flattened laterally) if its size was due only to a casting's extreme thickness. The extremities would have remained the same size, if they were from the same mold. The new mold's extremities are in proportion. I do not know why the design was remolded.

The molds differ further in a distortion of the design's right side of face, front of right shoulder, and a distortion in the hooves (flattened out). The 1999-2002 blue bobs version is likewise from the later, smaller mold.

The Maureen Love estate auction sold an old-mold bisque, but I do not have its measurements. I can't tell you if it is a normal factory casting or a casting from Maureen's earlier waste mold.

Photo courtesy Ed Alcorn, estate auction page.

Other competitors for the American giftware market copied Hagen-Renaker. The little Draft Horse in Harness was one of the molds that received this "flattery". When you compare side-by-side images, it's hard to believe anyone was ever fooled by this.

Made in Japan copy.

I'm interested to hear from other collectors, if they have any blue bobs/ribbons decorated on the old mold mini Draft in Harness, or other factory goof variants. There will be a later post about the edited version of this mold, the mold # A-459 Percheron (tail down), so photo submissions of both designs are welcome.

Thank you to Nancy Kelly for the book photo permission, and to Ed Alcorn, for the photos from his web site!


Alcorn, Ed. The Hagen-Renaker Online Museum. Jan. 10-13, 2014.

Benuish, Alison, ed. Hagen-Renaker Research Materials: 1949- Present. N. pag. Salisbury, MD: WMHC, 1995.

Kelly, Nancy. Hagen-Renaker: Through The Years. Page 126. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.: Atglen, PA, 2001.

Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Catalogue. Third Edition. P. 296. The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003.

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