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Taxidermy History question

Discussion in 'Taxidermy History' started by Bakes, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Just wondering....Who was the first person to think "hey if I made a mould of an animal and fill it with some of that new expandy foam stuff I can make a form"? AND did it take the industry by storm or was there some reluctance from people to start using this new way?
  2. PWS

    PWS Active Member

    Don't know the answer to the first question, but based on the fact that some (A LOT of) people still use real duck heads in mounts, you can come to your own conclusion on the second question.....

  3. George said that while he was still living in a cave that they invented taxidermy! Used T-Rex dung for preservative!
  4. James Marsico

    James Marsico Well-Known Member

    I believe it was Jonas Bros. that first came out with the foam forms; but I would not bet alot on that answer. Seemed like it a took 3-5 years before it was mostly all there was. The big supply companies, Jonas and Vandykes were it at the time, converted as fast as they could. All new fiberglas molds had to be made because the paper forms were made using heavy plaster molds. Labor wise it was and is a no brainier to get rid of all the minimum wage people laying strips of red rosin paper all day.
  5. duckfeathers

    duckfeathers New Member

    Before urethane there were styrofoam (called Hemcolyte) forms sold by Penn Taxidermy supply,Hazelton PA. Maybe it was Jim Mackeral, Concordville PA, who had a brother in law who was a chemist who came up with urethane foam forms. His name may have been Hionis. When the urethane foam forms first got to be known some said they would crush in when the hide dried and shrunk. Yes indeed a lot of money was made selling foam forms since then.............
  6. John Janelli

    John Janelli New Member

    To my knowledge, Louis Paul Jonas was the first person who actually used polyurethane foam to make forms from. He began his experiments soon after Carl Akeley died in 1926 leaving Jonas one of the few taxidermists to be endowed with Akeley's methods in preparing and mounting pachyderms. Rather than layering paper mache, wire cloth and wood slats into the pre-molded skin of one of the Asiatic elephants over in the American Museum of Natural History, Louie shot resin soaked chopped fiberglass into the skin and achieved amazing results. He first tried to use foam but the sheer volume and mass of the elephant prohibited such an ungainly experiment. Something of which it is believed that Akeley would have never allowed anyway. You'd need to understand the entire procedure in order to fully understand the uniqueness of this method of which I will soon share in NTA's Outlook magazine. Incidentally, Louie was also the first to model a table top pedestal mount featuring a Grant's gazelle back in the 1930's, Jonas Bros. mold # 1-842. Later, older brother Guy Jonas adapted the fiberglass method for making all actual manikins that he employed in the old Seattle Jonas Bros. studios that was later passed on to the Klineberger Bros. After the hollow fiberglass manikin was made, it was shellacked and impregnated with saw dust to aid in paste adhesion. My dear friend Joe Jonas Jr. continued this technique in his studios as well. Several of the first Jonas molds used for foam that I now own has LPJ 1938 scribed into the plaster. They were intricately molded with fiberglass flanges for a base board and lid to be clamped onto. By today's standards, these molds are no longer considered the state of the art but oh to look at them, touch them and think about a gone by era when the very manufacture of the forms these molds produced actually paid someone's mortgage and car loans just thrills me to no end.
    If you're referring to the commercial venture of foam forms, I still have a 1971 mimeographed sheet of paper offering the first foam forms to the industry from a supplier in Baker, Louisiana who is still in business today only who's name carries more controversy than I care to get into. His D-22 white tail form was the first foam rendition of Leon Pray's own pedestal mount second only to Penn Taxidermy's # 607 pedestal white tail which was only offered in laminated paper. My collection also holds the original Leon Pray mold of his white tail deer pedestal mount. And yes, the foam forms did indeed take this industry by storm as they became immediately embraced by most any taxidermist who ventured to try them. During the late 1960's and early 70's, Jonas Bros. of Denver came out with a material known as "Art-Forms". These were made of a hollow plastic and granulated cork composition that primarily was used for rug shells and certain head forms. It was discontinued because of a severe warping problem with the material itself.
    I promise you, maybe not in our lifetime, but the methods of Leon Walters (taxidermist of the Field Museum of Natural History early to mid 1900's) by which he mounted animals from rodents to gorillas by slip casting procedures will someday make fiberglass molds as obsolete as porcelain jaw sets. This method will literally revamp every competition that ever was. I would greatly appreciate it if forum members would keep me in mind if they see any available old Jonas forms of plastic or paper especially of the flat top variety.
    I've been asked again to give a taxidermy history seminar this year at the NTA convention, competition and trade show in Lubbock, Texas and could certainly use any 'new' old material. But then, our history is relatively so young that there are taxidermists reading this very post now who someday will be the subject of a future history seminar years from now.
  7. Crittercoroner

    Crittercoroner DUDE, your uselessness is epic!

    John, maybe you should actually mount something on a paper or f-glass form so everyone can know how good we got it now. Now that would be a good seminar for sure. Even better would be to see Jodi Green mount one on a paper form, now that would be informative.

    Dave :p
  8. thank you for the info
  9. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    JJ, I was looking for you on this one. I was pretty sure Jim was correct in Jonas being the first with expandable foam. Duckfeathers is close, but Hemcolyte is actually expandable polystyrene beads and not styrofoam. I have a few old paper forms and a couple of Hemcolyte squirrel forms in the attic of the shop. I think there's even one of those sawdust monstrocities up there as well. What POS compared to what you have today.

    Some years back, JJ and I were thinking of doing a seminar with the real skull and excelsior, but we didn't want to put you "younguns" into anaphylactic shock or something. LMAO
  10. edd263

    edd263 New Member

    In the late 1960's or early 1970's there was a man by the name of Dick Dove from Florida who made foam deer forms based on molds from Leon Pray for Joe Bruchac. Joe literally had hundreds of these foam mannikins on hand at all times. John I have a solid plaster deer mannikin, a plaster over burlap deer mannikin and a fiberglass flat top deer mannikin that I got from Joe that you could borrow if you wanted. Joe also showed me a solid hand carved deer mannikin that he had but I was never able to get that one. Ed Dandaraw
  11. Crittercoroner

    Crittercoroner DUDE, your uselessness is epic!

    George, I guess youngun is a comparative term. What a shame you never put that together, I still contend that it would be cool to see.

    A few years ago, I had the pleasure of sitting through a seminar that Rich Christoforo did on mounting a squirrel. Pretty much all he needed was some wire, clay, eyes, and a pile of sawdust, interesting to say the least. World class, maybe not, but an easy way to not have to use mannikins. Hell, I even caught crap here for posting about it by the newbies saying it was nothing short of crap. I'm fairly confident, that if given to the right person, they could probably do extremely well using that technique at one of the convetions. Maybe that would disprove the naysayers. Doing that with a paper form, well, that may be another story, but one that I would definitely follow, if for nothing else, something different.
  12. Very interesting JJ thank you.