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Author Topic: Why were some Victorian drinking glasses registered?  (Read 1022 times)

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Offline neilh

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Why were some Victorian drinking glasses registered?
« on: August 22, 2010, 04:40:13 PM »
A follow up to my earlier post on my Percival Vickers glass. I wonder if anyone has an opinion as to why some drinking glass designs were registered when the vast majority were not? I have images of all the registered goblets and tumblers from Manchester, and they are virtually all rather bland, and significantly less ornate from other designs that they produced, which they didn't register. Why copyright the less interesting ones?

A couple of illustrations of this point.

Included here is page 2 of the Molineaux & Webb pressed glass catalogue - which I have permission to post, watching moderators :-)

If you look through the designs you might expect something from the top two rows to be registered, but in fact it's the rather boring one at the bottom left, number 147, which is closest to designs that actually were registered.

Here's a snippet that I've pasted out of my website which illustrates that even the glass firms were horribly confused over this registration business...

28 Jan 1871 Manchester Times

Alleged Infringement of copyright

Before Sir J.I. Mantell and other magistrates, at the County Police Court, on Thursday, an information was laid by Messrs Andrew Kerr and Thomas Webb, Prussia Street Flint Glass Works, against Mr. Thomas Percival, for having, as managing director of Percival, Vickers & Co., Limited, manufactured and sold tumbler glasses of a certain pattern, thereby infringing the copyright which plaintiffs possessed in that pattern.  Mr. Harrison Blair appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Jordan for the defence.  Mr. Jordan raised the preliminary objection that the Act under which the proceedings had been instituted had for its object the protection of ornamental designs only; whereas the design which the plaintiffs alleged was an infringement of their copyright was for the purposes of utility, and not of ornamentation.  The magistrates, having examined a tumbler handed up by Mr. Jordan, said they could not see that the pattern in question made the tumbler any more useful than if it had been perfectly plain.  Mr. Jordan then said he should contend that the plaintiff's design was not new when they registered it, and he should also say that his clients had not infringed that design.  He produced a glass which was, he said, of the identical pattern in dispute, and which, during the last fifteen years, his clients had manufactured and sold in Manchester, though they had not registered it.  In support of his statements Mr. Jordan called Charles Henry Downs, who said he was a glass dealer, carrying on business in Manchester.  Having examined one of the plaintiff's tumblers, he stated that for over twelve years he had sold tumblers of exactly similar pattern.  Sir John Iles Mantell in giving judgement, said he and other magistrates on the bench were of opinion that the design of which Messrs Kerr and Webb held the copyright was not a new one; and also that the tumbler made by the defendants was not an infringement of that copyright.  Mr. Jordan applied for costs on behalf of his client, against whom ten summoners had been issued.  The request was granted.

Offline neilh

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Re: Why were some Victorian drinking glasses registered?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 04:02:38 PM »
Not exactly answering my own question here, but I note that two thirds of all drinking glasses registered in Manchester were between the years 1868 to 1873 (theres a few back to 1864 and a few up to 1892). Suggests to me there was some kind of external pressure which triggered a rash of tumbler / goblet registrations.

Offline David E

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Re: Why were some Victorian drinking glasses registered?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 11:23:35 AM »
I assume the registered design number was not mandatory, so not every manufacturer would have bothered with registration. Also, was there a time limit for when the design number could be used on the same piece of glass (or any other material, for that matter)? To pinch a small extract from Ivo's forthcoming Blue Henry book, "... design registrations in Prussia were valid for seven years..." so similar conditions might have applied in other countries.

I'd be interested to learn more myself, so look forward to comments on this.
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