Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!

Ray Harpel and his collectible irons and trivets

When I saw this poorly photographed Swan iron on eBay last week I didn’t pay it much attention. The head and neck were strangely cast … and was the tail broken off? On checking back I was shocked at the ending price of $362.57! Obviously there was much more to this swan than I realized, and I began searching through my references.

Jim & Robin Geisert’s book “Tuesday’s Reflections” discusses this iron. “The story of Ray Harpel and his homemade swans and geese were thoroughly documented in Tuesday’s Children. They were made during the early 1940s and given to friends and family members. They vary considerably in shape and finish. This goose shows particular charm with it’s unusual yellow coat with brown feather highlights and dark blue base.” The next photo of the Harpel Goose is from the Geisert’s book.

There is more to learn about this Goose in Judy Politzer’s book “Tuesday’s Children”, p.22: “The Harpels had already been in the foundry business for over a century when 12-year old Ray went to work for the foundry in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. A sand molder for fifty years, he made his work his hobby as well. This swan [a] and goose [b], based on the classical Swan (have the) individual touches that give them the charm of genuine American primitives.”

And another Harpel treasure to be on the lookout for is this little painted trivet, featured on p.72 of the Geisert’s book.


Geisert, Jim and Robin (2008). Tuesday’s Reflections. Lexington, KY: Self-published.

Politzer, Judy (1977). Tuesday’s Children. Walnut Creek, CA: Self-published. Reprinted and available through PITCA.

Update 9/22/2022: a full sized Harpel trivet

Also by Raymond M. Harpel is this cast iron trivet, measuring  7 1/2″ 5 3/8″ with four short paw feet and a filed gate mark along the edge.


Update 10/04/22

Through the years I’ve kept in touch with Cookie Hermort of Pennsylvania; Ray Harpel was her grandfather. I just sent her this trivet and a copy of the Politzers’ book Tuesday Children (they mention her grandfather several times). Being able to gift her those items makes my downsizing rewarding. This trivet is back where it belongs.


This entry was posted on April 10, 2011 by in References for Collectors, Vintage Trivets & Stands and tagged , , , .

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