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What are these things on the wall behind the Keatons?
November 17, 2010 6:50 PM   Subscribe

What are these things behind the Keatons? This is a picture of the Keaton family from Family Ties. What are those things on the wall behind them? My sister has seen one on the set of Laverne & Shirley as well.
posted by bq to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Horse brasses.
posted by zamboni at 6:53 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


That looks right - but they look much bigger in the photo. Bad photoshop job?
posted by bq at 6:59 PM on November 17, 2010


I've seen quite big horse brasses before. For big brassy horses. The ones in the picture aren't out of the question.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:01 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, they started making decorative horse brasses in the 70s and 80s that were designed solely to hang on the wall and came in sets, were weird shapes etc. Those are that kind.
posted by fshgrl at 8:04 PM on November 17, 2010


they started making decorative horse brasses that were designed solely to hang on the wall

Did they ever serve a purpose other than decoration?
posted by Rash at 8:08 PM on November 17, 2010


Hmm. In these Laverne & Shirley screencaps they look a lot less like horse brasses.

not leather

in a pair
posted by bq at 8:38 PM on November 17, 2010


Just as an aside, those are definitely Happy Days screen caps, not Laverne & Shirley.
posted by inmediasres at 9:09 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did they ever serve a purpose other than decoration?

Maybe. They're called horse brasses because they used to be put onto horse harnesses. When draft horses beame less common, the drivers would hang the brasses on the walls of their houses or the pubs. What is unclear is whether they ever served a real purpose on the harnesses, or were just decorative.
posted by jlkr at 9:20 PM on November 17, 2010


Just as an aside, those are definitely Happy Days screen caps, not Laverne & Shirley.

Bite your tongue, that's the Pizza Bowl.
As seen here.
posted by madajb at 9:32 PM on November 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


They were just decorative but they were originally designed for decorating horse harnesses and the various designs have meanings. Such and such a brewery, such and such a patron saint of carters, etc. It's a pretty old tradition.

I have a couple old ones which are fairly interesting and very slightly valuable (they're not on the original leather unfortunately) but most of the ones you see in thrift stores and the like were mass produced for the fake-pub trade which is probably where they got these.
posted by fshgrl at 9:35 PM on November 17, 2010


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