The weathervane was an important factor for the famer and the sailor, making the weathervane a significant instrument in pre-technological society. Rural and sea-faring communities needed to be aware of the wind direction to protect their crops and ships. The weathervane - its name deriving from the old English fana, meaning flag or banner - was also an expression of the blacksmith’s art. Weathervanes could take many different forms including cocks (which carried a religious significance); other birds, such as swan or doves; fish (a good shape to catch the wind); and, inevitably, ships. They were often made of beaten iron, in this case painted white and in the unusual shape of a seated terrier.
Seated Dog Weathervane About 1880 © Compton Verney