Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. > British & Irish Glass

Jonas Defries & Sons, RD 35778, 26 June 1846 - Night lamp

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Paul S.:
Problems with the watermarking  -   which I think should now be o.k.     Grateful if all the duff images are removed - thanks. :)

Mod: duff images removed as requested Paul

My profuse thanks for your magnificent efforts again at Kew, Paul.

This little night lamp may not look like much,  but I think it is probably the earliest extant piece of British glass (pressed or hand blown) bearing a registration lozenge - unless one of our redoubtable GMB members knows otherwise.

It is imteresting that you mention Osler's candelabrum as appearing in the same 'Representations' book, because Defries & Sons went on to become  manufacturers of very high quality chandeliers that held their own alongside those of Osler and Baccarat (see below).

A little time spent with Professor Google has revealed a few facts about Jonas Defries & Sons that might be shed light (pun!) on the development of this humble little lamp into some of the most opulent chandeliers ever seen.

There is a Notice in the Jewish Chronicle that Jonas Defries died on 24 August 1860 at his residence, 147 Houndsditch, in his 55th year. There are also numerous notes about members of his family, including mention of three sons, Moss, Coleman, and Nathan.

In November1866, there was a court case at the Central Criminal Court where Moss Defries was the chief prosecuting witness. He described himself as “a chandelier manufacturer, carrying on business with my brothers in Commercial Street, Whitechapel.
There is an undated illustrated trade card for
J. Defries & Sons
Crystal glass Chandelier Manufacturers.

Lamps for India and other Markets

Manufactories, London & Paris

Birmingham Show Rooms,
Exchange Chambers, Carrs Lane.

Swan & Wade, Agents
Between 26 June 1846 and 7 June 1883, the following designs were registered by either by Jonas Defries or Jonas Defries and Sons , all of Houndsditch, and most with an address of 147 Houndsditch, City, London:

35778      26 June 1846 – P3    Night lamp

50942      18 March 1848     Reflector
50943      18 March 1848     Reflector
50944      18 March 1848  Reflector
51882      10 May 1848    The Brilliant Reflector

73917      29 November 1850   Holder for mortars or night lights

84137      4 March 1852      Pine Moon reflector
84138      $ March 1852      Moon reflector
85540      29 June 1852      Instrument applied to the tops of candles

93185      5 November 1853   Design for lamp glass

96543      2 August 1854      Shade for moderateur lamp to be called “Globe and Tulip” shade
96898      21 September 1854   Glass hydraulic chandelier
97249      17 October  1854   Glass chandelier for moderateur and candle lamp to be called  the “Victorian Chandelier”

103739   13 February 1856   Stand for moderator and other lamps

109909   14 May 1857      A mirror to be the “Prism Mirror”

130975   20 March 1861   Gas shade to be called “Prismatic Moon”
139706   20 March 1861   Gas shade to called the “Albert Moon”

158400   15 December 1862   No subject
158401   15 December 1862   No subject

170523   24 December 1863   “Alhambra” chandelier for India
170524   24 December 1863   Registered prismatic chandelier
170526   26 December 1863   Registered crystal candelabrum

180385   25 October 1864   No subject

21696      21 February 1868   No subject
216997   21 February 1868   No subject
223307   21 October 1868   No subject

277150   13 October 1873   No subject

320276   9 April 1878      No subject

358798   23 November 1880   No subject
359104   29 November 1880   No subject
359237   3 December 1880   No subject
359238   3 December 1880   No subject
359239   3 December 1880   No subject

360486   7 January 1881   No subject
360487   7 January 1881   No subject
361810   16 February 1881   No subject
368638   19 August 1881   No subject
374432   6  December 1881   No subject
374773   15 December 1881   No subject

378298   28 March 1882   No subject
378997   29 March 1882   Electrolier
382838   1 July 1882      No subject
383007   5 July 1882      No subject
387075   26 September 1882   No subject
387076   26 September 1882   No subject
387077   26 September 1882   No subject

399063   7 June 1883      No subject

Although describing themselves as manufacturers of chandeliers, there is no record at
of Defries having a glass works, so they may well simply have bought in blank pieces from other glasshouses for final finishing in their own cutting or polishing shops.

Defries does not appear to have exhibited at the great 1851 exhibition at crystal Palace, but at the Paris exhibition of 1867 the small British contingent was represented mainly by Powell & sons and J. Defries who exhibited some ornate chandeliers.

It is interesting that Defries’s trade card makes particular mention that they manufactured “Lamps for India and other Markets”, because there is an Anglo-Indian Defries emerald glass Hundi hall lantern at
featuring an emerald blown glass globe with brass terminal, all suspended by a metal collar, chains and glass smoke cap. Originally used for candles, this fixture could be easily electrified with a candle socket.

By the late 1870s, furniture for Eastern nobility was made by several European companies that specialized in this area of production. The principal manufacturers were F. & C. Osler in Birmingham, England, and Baccarat in France. Other English companies that made glass lighting and furniture for the Eastern market were Jonas Defries & Sons of London and the Coalbourne Hill Glass Works near Stourbridge. For the rest of the 19th century, world’s fairs continued to display chandeliers, glass cabinets, and chairs designed by Osler, Jonas Defries & Sons of London, and Baccarat of France.

Looking at the details of the registration drawing, I suspect that the brown / orange represents some type of lamp oil (perhaps even some type of paraffin if it existed at the time). The central 'wick' may possibly have been a cylindrical brass of copper fitment that was fixed or glued in some way into the hole in the centre of the bowl base, partially encasing an absorbent cylindrical wick to stop it collapsing as the level of the lamp oil fell during the nght (and also, of course, keeping the actual flame safely clear of the oil's surface).

Is this a reasonable thesis?

Sounds a reasonable thesis to me. The colour makes sense for oil

Paul S.:
Yes, I'd also agree with this hypothesis ;)        In fact shortly after I'd made the ill conceived comment about water, it occured to me that the shading was more likely to have been a fuel of some description.           Unfortunately, there was nothing in either the Register or the Representations books describing the mechanics of the lamp.

During the very early Victorian period, the provision of light was a vastly important factor in the lives of ordinary people - no less than ourselves, of course - but whereas we take it for granted, the folks in 1846 doubtless spent more time conceiving of ways to distribute and use what for them was a vital and precious commodity.      Perhaps we should try occasionally the humbling experience of living with candles for a few evenings. ;D
This particular Representations books had many entries for lamps, lenses, shades etc., which shows the concern they had for extracting the best from what little light sources they had.

Again, my apologies for the gaffs re watermarking, and hope the Mods can tidy up - thanks.


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