The Hensley Co.

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Roderick Treece
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The Hensley Co.

Post by Roderick Treece » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:00 pm

I found this little sign on e-bay.What I find interesting is that my friend Robert Curry knew the owner of the Hensley Co.I was told that Dean Hensley had a glass sign co. in SoCal.
At one time he became quite wealthy doing glass signs.As far as I know he has passed away.Anyone know any more about him?

http://cgi.ebay.com/THE-PUREST-ARROWHEA ... dZViewItem

DAVE SMITH
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Post by DAVE SMITH » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:17 am

Hi Rod. Happy New Year and all that mate......... I thought Rick had made one like this, it looks like his style
Dave

Wayne Osborne
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Post by Wayne Osborne » Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:18 am

This one Dave?Image

Happy New year folks

Roderick Treece
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Post by Roderick Treece » Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:11 pm

Wayne,
Is that photo the one from E-bay?
My guess right now is the Dean and Rick must have had some contact.Dean's company was located somewhere in the L.A. area.


Roderick

Wayne Osborne
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Post by Wayne Osborne » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:31 pm

No- ?,,mmmm.. Not certain, but I have it on my computer filed under "Rick"..I think its from his shop.

Kent Smith
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Dean

Post by Kent Smith » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:29 pm

We all went up to Dean's home in the Pasadena Hills, straight up the 110 highway from Rick's, at a couple of the early Conclaves. He was a great and gracious host. He had raced motorcycles and had some classics to see, including an Indian racing bike in the living room and a shed full of others. He also had something to do with the Casablanca Fans but I don't remember what besides designing their signs and advertising. On our last trip there, he gave each of us membership pins in his World Wide Cycle Club. He was wheel chair bound due to an auto accident but the details escape me. His glass sign designs were unique and classic in style. If I remember correctly, he died suddenly, shortly before the 4th or 5th Conclave, possibley due to complications from the accident. As to the glass sign, I am sure it was Dean's and Rick had it hanging on the wall along with an original Casablanca sign. I remember that Rick found Dean because he was interested in Dean's process for production of large quantities of the Casablanca signs. Rick had a broken one on the wall in back when I first met him but don't remember seeing it later on. Who knows where the one on eBay came from but I am sure there were multiple copies of all signs Dean produced.

Ron Berlier
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Post by Ron Berlier » Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:01 pm

Happy New Year all :!: :!:


I agree with you Dave, I seem to recall seeing this one as well. Sure dosen't look like an "old" sign. I'm sure Danny can clarify as he has pics of all of Rick's stuff.
Ron Berlier
Wherever I go, there I am.

Patrick Mackle
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Post by Patrick Mackle » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:11 pm

That is definitely a Hensley piece. Also Dean had the shaper blades used to shape the oak frame stock custom made and only gave them to the frame maker long enough to mill the wood, then he would collect them back to avoid pirating. He was plagued with knockoffs and cheap mass imitations.
Dean was friends with Burton Burton, owner of Casablanca Fan Company. Dean designed the company logo. Burton sold the fan company and retired to an island off of Washington and passed away there a few years ago.
Dean lived down the street from me and I would show him some of my discoveries in lost glass decorating techniques.
He suggested that I come to his house in a couple of days, as there was this person named Rick that was also interested in glass signs. That was the beginning of a treasured friendship.
Dean was injured at an early age racing speedway bikes at Ascot in the early 60's. He had fallen and was struck by two other bikes. Unfortunately two track officials took hold of him to drag him from the field. Dean told me at that moment he felt his legs go. That must have caused the damage to his spinal cord, resulting in the wheelchair.
Dean never let that trump card slow him down. Instead he wheeled himself into the sign painting class at Pasadena City College with a motorcycle gas tank in his lap. He located the instructor Bob McDaniels and told him that he intended to learn to pinstripe. Years later at Dean's funeral Bob McDaniels told of his amazingly talented close friend Dean, and all that he had accomplished from that first encounter with that gas tank. Dean's funeral not only filled a large church, but also the steps and the sidewalk. They had to add a PA system. I remember thinking to myself that I would be lucky to fill half a pew! The procession that followed was very long and made up of vintage cars and priceless old motorcycles.
I rode behind those old bikes with their "lost oil systems" battling the oil droplets just to revel in the site of Hendersons, Harelys and Indians.
As we passed a three story construction site, I noticed a solitary roofer stop his work at the site of this vintage procession. As he viewed the length of it in appropriate amazement, he reached up and slowly dragged his hat down from off his head and locate it over his heart, as if to show that whoever this funeral was for, he must have been very special to a lot of friends. I learned that it is hard to wipe away tears from under a helmet.
Dean spent many years working with the Everett & Jennings wheelchair company. They looked to his advice to help them build a better chair for people like Dean who didn't let their physical situation slow them down. The company would give Dean a improved chair and Dean would work it hard to its end, then send it back with its obvious weaknesses.
We chuckled about this.
Sadly Dean lost his life on a misty night on the old Pasadena freeway with its old style hairpin exits originally designed for 1930's cars. There had been an accident earlier that day and the residue of fluids from that wreck, coupled with the mist set the way for fate. Dean either hadn't set his safety belt, or it unfastened on impact, resulting in his ejection from his signature tan and copper Econoline van.
Dean had a good impact on my life. Not only did I feel special when he openly invited me to functions at his house, but also in his advise that I should buy some property, anywhere, just buy some. He actually took the time to ride me around in his van and point out properties that he owned or had owned and what they had done for him. My older years will be far more comfortable in thanks to Dean.
I remember one day receiving a call from Dean to come over to see an old Indian motorcycle that had just returned from a local restorer. I walked up his drive expecting to see the bike but only found Dean. "Where's this bike" I asked. Dean's reply was that it was in his living room. Sure enough I entered the house and there it stood. The old red Indian, complete with its original streamlined fiberglass body. It was in reality the original Indian motorcycle that the recent movie "The World's Fastest Indian" evolved around.
I think of Dean and Rick in the same light. Those people, that add momentum to your life and do it graciously and freely.
Once Dean confessed to me one of his weaknesses. He liked to have a drink now and then, or as I remember him colorfully saying "a little hair o' the dog".
Pat
Last edited by Patrick Mackle on Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kent Smith
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Post by Kent Smith » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:27 am

Thanks Pat for sharing so much and clearing up some of my faulty memory. I really only met Dean a few times but could tell how great a guy he was. Much like Rick, he made everyone feel like they were his new best friends.

Catharine C. Kennedy
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Post by Catharine C. Kennedy » Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:47 am

Thanks, Pat, not only for the information, but for the excellant story!
Catharine C. Kennedy
Chatham Center, NY

Patrick Mackle
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Post by Patrick Mackle » Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:29 pm

Hi Kent,
Speaking of faulty memory I edited my post to correctly say Bob McDaniels (not Daniels) and tan and copper Econoline.
That info was in my memory, I just could not access it at that moment.

Thank you Catherine, I love to try and paint pictures with words.

Pat

Carol
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Post by Carol » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:13 pm

Patrick,
refresh my memory about this. I was at Dean's only once during a Conclave and remember what an amazing collection of advertising art he had. And what a terrific person I thought he was. Here's the part I need you to remember - wasn't the motorcycle in his dining room cut in half? Didn't it have half of the mechanics exposed?
Carol
Art is a technique of communication. The image is the most complete technique of all communication.
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You are invited to visit www.carolchapel.com

Patrick Mackle
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Post by Patrick Mackle » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:57 pm

Hi Carol,
Yes your memory is correct although the bike was not cut. The body is made in two halves and either side can be removed.
I attended a motorcycle reunion at the Pomona Ca. Fairgrounds last year specifically for Indian Motorcycle owners.
Dean's Indian was the main exhibit placed on a rotating platform that was positioned at the entrance of the building.
Surrounding it were more of Dean's bikes. Also there were pictures of Dean and a video monitor of the original owner, Bert Monro being interviewed and riding the bike at Bonneville Salt Lake where he set the world speed record. Bert Monro was portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the movie The World's Fastest Indian.
Dean never lost his love for riding. One of the pictures displayed of Dean shows him seated with a big grin on a motorcycle that he had taken for a ride on El Mirage dry lake. Many people who viewed this photo did not know that Dean was paralyzed, but upon closer examination of the photo, they would have seen that Dean had coaxed his friend into duct taping his shoes to the foot pegs on the bike so that he could ride.
There is a website to visit that pictures a restoration of ONE of Bert's Indians that looks like Dean's but is NOT the actual one that Dean owned and resided in his living room. There is some argument and controversy about which bike actually set the record. Local Indian owner's support Dean's bike as the record setter.
If you visit the website listed below you will see two photos side by side. To the left is Bert with two bikes. On the right is pictured Dean's Indian and his Econoline van in the background, Dean and his wheelchair were cropped from the photo.
http://www.indianmotorbikes.com/feature ... /munro.htm
Pat

Larry White
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What the devil!?!

Post by Larry White » Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:35 pm

Hey! Here's one of those Hensley "Casablanca Ceiling Fan" signs up for auction on ebay!

Casablanca Ceiling Fan sign ebay auction

Not a bad price at $65, plus $20 to have it brought to ya.

Image
Larry White
That's enough for now... it's gettin' late
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Roderick Treece
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Post by Roderick Treece » Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:31 pm

Whity,
I'd buy it if I were you.Now that yur all flush with that bounty money you got.Just how many did you bring out of the snow any way?

The "KID"

Larry White
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Post by Larry White » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:40 am

Okay, I did.

14 men....

Pete McKearnan
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Post by Pete McKearnan » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:26 pm

What a great trip to Deans house between his work, the reverse glass pieces and the antiques. He was a great host. I believe his background is in screen printing. His family had a screen printing business. Nice design, nice work

Larry White
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Larry White » Thu May 07, 2009 11:57 am

I was scrolling down the Ebay list of glass sign auctions, and just by the thumbnail picture, I could tell it was a Hensley sign.

Have a Snort ebay auction

They're asking $75, and $10 to ship it.
Attachments
HavaSnortWeb.jpg
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Kent Smith
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Kent Smith » Fri May 08, 2009 11:29 pm

Hmmm...I would ask Pat but the frame does not look like the same level of quality as the others. Wondering if it is a knock-off? Different frame? Or am I just skeptical?

Rick Sacks
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Rick Sacks » Wed May 20, 2009 7:38 am

It was around '73 or "74 when Isie Posner was getting several of the younger letterers together for Saturday workshops. That's when I met Dean. I remember him pinstriping a VW bug and asking for help pulling the lines across the top next to the rain gutters. It was an amazing process watching him study the victorian designs until they flowed out as though he was part of that era. There were several guys at those gatherings just out of "trade tech" also. Pat, do you remember a guy called "Sir..."something? One of those meetings was at his place in Pasadena.
Mendocino, California
"Where the redwoods meet the Sea"

Larry White
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Larry White » Wed May 20, 2009 9:44 am

Here's another one that came up on ebay. Both this one, and the previous one, had a stamp on the cardboard backing that read, "The Hensley Co., Inspected by, Hang with flat head nails, built-in groove in frame". They were asking $49.99, but it didn't sell.
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Larry White
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Larry White » Wed May 20, 2009 9:55 am

This is one of several the Hensley Co. made for the Casablanca Fan Co. It also was up on ebay and sold fro $25.
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Roderick Treece
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Roderick Treece » Wed May 20, 2009 11:38 am

The tragic thing about these pieces are how cheap they sell for. Or don't even sell for.

Roderick

Noah Moore
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Noah Moore » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:41 pm

Larry White wrote:I was scrolling down the Ebay list of glass sign auctions, and just by the thumbnail picture, I could tell it was a Hensley sign.

Have a Snort ebay auction

They're asking $75, and $10 to ship it.
i actually own this piece. now i will say, im not totally sure if this one we're looking at here is a real reverse glass piece but the one i received had the blue tones screen printed and the gold was just an insert behind hallow letters. none the less, i like it. and it is done on the back side.
THE SKYS THE LIMIT

BruceJackson
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by BruceJackson » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:32 pm

I'm glad this post was bumped up again giving me an introduction to Dean Hensley.

Thanks Pat for such a moving and beautifully written potted biography. Brought a tear to my eye.

I wonder if others have noted a connection between motorcyles and signwriting? For some reason there seems to be connection. Motorcycle people invariably seem to appreciate our art more than the general population and I know an inordinate number of signwriters who own or enjoy bikes, especially vintage bikes.

Noah Moore
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Noah Moore » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:45 pm

Noah Moore wrote:
Larry White wrote:I was scrolling down the Ebay list of glass sign auctions, and just by the thumbnail picture, I could tell it was a Hensley sign.

Have a Snort ebay auction

They're asking $75, and $10 to ship it.
i actually own this piece. now i will say, im not totally sure if this one we're looking at here is a real reverse glass piece but the one i received had the blue tones screen printed and the gold was just an insert behind hallow letters. none the less, i like it. and it is done on the back side.
so i gave another look to the snort sign. it does in fact have "the hensley company" printed on the back. also paired up with the hanging instructions.
THE SKYS THE LIMIT

Doug Bernhardt
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:08 pm

Has been a great read and the insights are terrific. Just last night I was watching Antiques Road show and it got me thinking about this and other discussions about our "wee craft". I also am disappointed when I see some outstanding work either being tossed staight into the garbage or in an open market drawing such small amounts of money. I think we need to realise that at this point in time, signs, like other items are concidered folk art and regardless of quality or excellence in execution will only demand a low price from collectors. Much like the Bull Durham pieces Rick Glawson had on his wall, time (and authenticity) will be the deciding factors when it comes to prices. (the Bull Durham being very valuable) Take P.T. Copperpots doors and move ahead a hundred years and me thinks we'll have quite another story about price.....rather than the sad state at present. If I had one of the fine original Hensley pieces seen here, I'd print out this discussion and attach it to the inside of the frame for the future. Talk about authentication. It would also be well to collect a few tales from direct contacts and friends (while they're still around) of the pieces collected and again keep it with the P.T.Copperpots of the present, past and future. Just and aside to what I mentioned earlier...(and memory ain't so good here) but one of Noel Weber's great and featured pieces was last seen in the bottom of a dumpster in a million or so fragments shortly after the new owners took over. Anyone that can remember which my mind would love refreshing.

vance galliher
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by vance galliher » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:01 pm

...That’s a sad tale to heard Doug about a Noel piece. We've all had breakage due to our negligence, but to just trash due to ignorance, unknowing about the art, is sad. Happy New Year all…….
vance
dimensional and glass art signs
http://www.vancegallihersigns.com

Noah Moore
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Noah Moore » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:32 pm

here is another one i bought for $15.00 at an antique store here in kansas city.


Image
Image
Image

i have that snort sign too but im at my third attempt at posting this and need to resize again.
THE SKYS THE LIMIT

Noah Moore
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Re: The Hensley Co.

Post by Noah Moore » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:18 am

here is the snort sign. this was bought for $4.98 at a thrift store a few months back.

Image
Image

also with the hensly co. stamp on back
THE SKYS THE LIMIT

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