The Grand Wood Carving Company of Chicago, IL, produced a variety of animal figurines carved in wood beginning in the late 1930s. Of particular interest are the horses they produced in the 1940s and 1950s. Many were portraits of famous racehorses from that era. Breyer sculptor Chris Hess is rumored to have begun his career as a woodworker, and given the close proximity of the Breyer facory and that of GWC, it's possible (even probable) he worked for GWC before joining Breyer. His Breyer Racehorse mold and the traditional scale Man O' War mold are both definitely copies of the earlier GWC pieces.

This is the Grand Wood Carving "Whirlaway" model, a portrait of the 1941 Triple Crown winner bred and raced by Calumet Farms produced sometime inthe 1940s. He is made of mahogany and has painted details. He's a little bit bigger than the Breyer Racehorse and ever so slightly more crude, but he's a really a neat piece of history and folk art, especially to a fan of vintage Breyers like me.

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