New England Weathervane & Lantern Co. was created at the kitchen table in the home of Max and Rebecca Webber in Middleton, MA in 1955. It was at this kitchen table that the two founders, Ralph Raynard and Max Webber, put their pen to paper in 1955, creating New England Weathervane & Lantern.
dealers. To this day, Max Webber Inc. continues to be recognized as one of the worlds’ greatest antique and arts shops. The 5 story barn still stands tall in Middleton, where Max Webber Inc. continues to be run by Alan Webber, who had purchased the company from his father Max in 1956. Alan Webber only added to the Max Webber Inc. name, building upon the business he had purchased from his father by focusing his unique talents on 18th
The Barn in Middleton, MA where it all began in 1955.
Ralph Raynard had worked for Max Webber from 1946 to 1952 while a student and after graduation. Max Webber was the owner of Max Webber Inc, one of the worlds’ most respected antique
century English antiques and art. To this day Alan Webber is recognized as one of the worlds leading experts on 18th century English antiques.
It was here at the barn that Max Webber and Ralph Raynard chose the Smuggler Horse Weathervane to take to the MIT Foundry and have a mold reverse engineered. This was the first of the four original molds made at MIT from an antiqued weathervane. The other three were the 21” Rooster, the 28” Cow and the 27” Eagle. Ralph Raynard would be the operating partner and take the lead position at the weathervane shop. Ralph Raynard leased a chicken coop in Middleton, MA from his parents for $60.00 /year. It was there that local Middleton residents were hired to do the forming, soldering, and finishing of the weathervanes. While they were being made, Ralph would take to the road in his station wagon full of weathervanes to sell. It was on one of these selling trips that the opportunity to purchase E.G. Washburne was presented to Ralph. After discussing the opportunity with Max, it was decided with Max’s blessing, that Ralph would pursue this next chapter alone, and the New England Weathervane & Lantern partnership was dissolved.
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