This is a pair of zinc Lions paws that have a wonderful history dating back to 1902.
The two paws are 36” long x 12” across at the thickest point on the paw. The paws are hollow and made of hammered zinc. They are the remains of a trio of Zinc Lions from the Steeple Chase Park ride at Coney Island Park. We have made a set of iron stands to hold the paws for display purposes. On the opposite ends of the forearms there are square protrusions which allowed the paws to be attached to the body. As you can see the condition is worn from being in the weather and of course handling over the years.
The paws were the feature of a two-part film made by two “History Detectives” in 2005. Gwendolyn Wright, (Gwendolyn Wright is a Professor of architecture at Columbia University and holds appointments in Columbia's departments of History and Art History) and Sade Falebita who assisted and filmed the investigation. The two-part series is available to view on both YouTube and PBS web site. Just search for “Coney Island Lions Paws”. In the two-part film they offer definitive proof that these are in fact the paws of one of the three lions that decorated the facade of the Steeple Chase Park ride on Coney Island.
History: There were three roaring lion heads with forelegs extended which were originally associated with the elaborate carousel "El Dorado," manufactured in Leipzig, Germany, by Hugo Haase, for William II, emperor of Germany and King of Prussia in 1903. It was purchased by Steeplechase Park’s owner George C. Tilyou, imported to Coney Island in 1910. It was originally installed on Surf Avenue, either near Dreamland or Luna Park (accounts differ). After the 1911 fire, which devastated Dreamland, the carousel was relocated to Steeplechase Park, but the front facade, which included the lions, was separated from the carousel and installed as a doorway to the "Barrel of Fun." The entire facade was dismantled and discarded in 1923, except for the three zinc lions. They remained at Steeplechase Park until 1966, when they were finally dismantled and sold. The carousel was purchased for use at the 1970 Osaka World's Fair, and is currently in use at the Toshimaen Amusement Park in Tokyo.
The only complete Lion is on display in the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY. The inset photo in the first photo is a picture of that lion in it's impressive 82" x 36" x 69" size. These paws are the remains of one of the lions and the remaining parts and the third Lion's whereabouts are unknown. We have many other photos and additional information available should you like to view them.
Additional notes: It was said that the Lion's heads and the facade built in Germany may have been gold leafed, perhaps removed before being sold.
We can offer delivery or shipping of these two pieces, please ask for information. Local pickup available.