What's Wrong With These Pictures?

This is the category of “decorative material” found in most type specimen books, before you from the Empire Foundry in Buffalo, New York, c. 1910. Can you find the curiosity. Hint: it was used as a printing ornament for over a century before it was used for something else.

Decorative ornamentsdecorative ornaments 2decorative ornaments 3decorative ornaments with swastikas?more decorative swastikas

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  1. @ ampersand duck: The Swastika was actually derived from the ancient Chinese character for “temple.” Hitler didn’t do much with it. He simply flipped the symbol for a mirror image.

  2. Wow, fantastic catalogue. I have at least six of those ornaments, mostly animals, and it’s wonderful to see where they originate (sort of, I guess they were pretty standard). The swastika was derived from a Hindu symbol (although reversed), which I guess is the context here.

  3. My sister owned a 1920′s house in a Philly suburb that had locally made tiles set into the foyer floor. One of them was a swastika, which was certainly not meant to offend. At the time of its manufacture, it was just a historic symbol. Less than a decade later, it was changed to mean something else, and still does today.