Hagen-Renaker - Still Hand-Made in the USA!
Many of us have a few H-R pieces in our collections, but how much do we know about their origins?
For example, did you know that Hagen-Renaker is a family-owned business, producing and hand-painting all their models right in California, USA?
Here are some more things you may not have known about Hagen-Renaker horses:
- In 1945, Maxine Renaker began sculpting ceramic pieces in the family garage. Her husband John built her their first kiln by running a garden hose from their gas stove! (not recommended, by the way!)
- John's mom Moss worked for Walker Potteries, and her boss taught the Renakers about the pottery business. Maxine's dad Ole Hagen and his brother built John and Maxine their first factory / apartment, and in gratitude, John and Maxine named their company Hagen-Renaker.
- It wasn't long before the Renakers realized that animal sculptures were outselling plates and dishes, and they swung the company in this direction. Among their first designers was Maureen Love, a name now synonymous with great model horses. Maureen sculpted almost all of the horse pieces that are still in production today. Since some of her original sculptures were leased to Breyer by Hagen-Renaker, many collectors have grown up thinking of her as a Breyer sculptor, when actually her pieces were originally designed to be produced in ceramic!
- With a talented team of painters, you wouldn't expect the company's CEO to spend her time painting, but she does! Susan Nikas, H-R CEO, paints the faces for all the riders herself. Now that's a company that takes a truly hands-on approach to quality!