Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Zinn Brilliant Ornaments: Cooperstown artisans at work

Header from the new facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/zinnbrilliant

call 1-607-547-1900

At this time of year, Bill and Janet Rigby make and sell reflector ornaments crafted with 1880 hand-carved molds. Their 42 molds passed from the carver, Gustav A. Mayer, to his daughters, and then to Bill and Janet. It's wonderful to visit them in the cellar level of their beautifully restored Victorian house and see the ornaments--stags and fish and wonderful little suns and stars and more--at various stages of completion, moving from the tin bath to final painting. The ornaments are sold at regional fairs, at the showroom in Cooperstown, and in New York City. Watch the facebook page for news or contact Bill and Janet there. 

If you visit Cooperstown during the ornament season, they're interesting people to meet. Bill is also the owner of American Historic Hardware, and Janet has a wealth of craftswoman's talents.

Here's a little film about the business made by Rebecca Beatrice Miller:

from Mayer's catalogue of reflectors

Wreath adorned with small ornaments


  1. How interesting that they have those 1880 hand-carved molds. Their decorations must be very popular at the Christmas fairs.

  2. Well done Rebecca for producing such an interesting film. Very engaging. Love these decorations, and love the spirit behind the making of them.

  3. Hi Marja-Leena,

    It's actually a complex and colorful story, as Janet and Bill got to know the three daughters in their old age--they were happy when the ornaments were made again. And their daughter is named after one of Gustav Mayer's daughters.


    Glad you liked Rebecca's film and the Mayer-Rigby ornaments. Lovely to see the making of idiosyncratic, beautiful things passed on...

  4. What an extraordinarily lovely way to spend time together. The ornaments are so nice, and the couple appear so happily involved in the making of them.
    A smashing film/blog all round!

  5. Yes, they seem to go on together quite happily!

    I recently had to get new hardware for door and shutters, so I got to see that part of their domain as well. It's nice to know people who do very particular, very interesting things.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.