New Collections: Sailor the Iron Dog

One of the newest additions to the BMI’s collection has four legs and a tail.

Thanks to a generous donation from Dorothea Lankford, a cast iron dog named Sailor has found a forever home on the BMI campus. The life-size statue was modeled after Newfoundland pups Sailor and Canton, who were rescued from an 1807 shipwreck off the coast of Maryland and bred into the modern day Chesapeake Bay retriever.

In the 1850s, iron statues of animals were popular lawn ornaments. Baltimore’s Bartlett-Hayward Company, the largest iron foundry in the nation, created Sailor and Canton as mascots for their business.

For many years, Sailor kept watch on the front lawn of the Lankford Family home in Brooklandville, Maryland. According to Dorothea, Sailor has “always been loved and played on by children.” When it came time to sell her home, Dorothea felt strongly that Sailor should find a new home at the BMI, “where it can tell its Baltimore and Maryland story [and] be preserved and safely enjoyed by many more children for years to come.”

Visit the BMI’s Machine Shop gallery to see the hand-carved wooden pattern that was made to create the mold used for the dogs.

Sailor, the Iron Dog, being installed on the BMI campus on October 8, 2021. Dorothea is particularly happy that Sailor has found a new home on the museum’s campus, outside and looking out on the Inner Harbor: “a great spot for a water dog to rest.”

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