HISTORY OF WEATHER VANES
The earliest recorded weather vane honored the Greek god Triton,and adorned the Tower of the Winds in Athens which was built by the astronomer Andronicus in 48 B.C. To the ancients, the winds had divine powers. In Greece and pre-ancient Rome, weathervanes depicting the gods Boreas, Aeolus, Hermes and Mercury decorated the villas of wealthy landowners.
In the ninth century A.D., the pope reportedly decreed that every church in Europe should show a cock on its dome or steeple, as a reminder of Jesus' prophecy that the cock would not crow the morning after the Last Supper, until the disciple Peter had denounced him three times(Luke 22:34). Because of this story "weather cocks" have topped church steeples for centuries, both in Europe and America.
America's first documented weathervane maker, Deacon Shem Drowne, created the famous grasshopper vane atop Boston's Faneuil Hall (1742), as well as the banner for Boston's Old North Church (1740), the rooster is now on First Church in Cambridge (orig. 1721).
Current weathervane artists enjoy the opportunity to both recreate the antique vanes of Europe and America, and invent new sculptural forms, sometimes using non-traditional materials. It will be interesting to see what the future will bring to the constantly evolving History of weathervanes.