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Author Topic: Davis, Greathead & Green, Stoubridge, piano insulator RD 119975, 20 May1859  (Read 3581 times)

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Offline agincourt17

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Glass piano insulators appear to have survived in profusion (but they were, after all, vitreous ‘lumps’ designed to take the partial weight of a piano). Found in a variety of shapes and colours, they are mostly anonymous, but some are found with identifying markings and a helpful few bear British design registration markings, thereby enabling precise attribution.

In a GMB discussion regarding a Thomas Dawkins / Percival, Yates & Vickers piano insulator with the registry date lozenge for 8 July 1859 (corresponding to RD 120613) at
http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php?topic=49980.new;topicseen#new
Paul Stirling posted as an addendum a British design representation from TNA for a not entirely dissimilar piano insulator RD 119975, registered to Davis, Greathead & Green of the Flint Glass Works, Stoubridge, on 20th May 1859 - Parcel 6 (see photo below).

A quick search of the online design registration summaries at TNA reveals that they registered  a total of eight designs between 1851 and 1859 as follows:

RD 80554 of 24 October 1851 – a basin ; address simply given as Stourbridge, Worcestershire.

RD 81078 of 24 October 1851 – salt cellar; address given as Brettell Lane, Staffordshire.

RD 89210 of 28 January 1853 – arm for gas; address Stourbridge.

RD 94728 of 21 January 1854 – no subject given; address Stourbridge.

RD 97191 of 14 October 1854 – no subject given; address given as Flint Glass Works, Stourbridge.

RD 99632 of 10 March 1855 – no subject given; address Flint Glass Works…

RD 100998 of 1 August 1855 – no subject given; address Flint Glass Works…

RD 119975 of 20 May 1859 – pianoforte insulator; address Flint Glass Works…

Does anyone actually have photos of a marked example of Davis, Greathead and Green’s RD 11975 piano insulator to show, please, or, for that matter, any other marked examples of pieces from the same registrants?

This was not a registrant or glasshouse that I had encountered previously so, as I have an interest in the history of Victorian glasshouses operating in the Stourbridge area, decided that they were worthy of further investigation, and I will post additional snippets of information.

Fred.

Offline agincourt17

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Davis, Greathead and Green, Stourbridge, 1850-1860.

Information extracted from Jason Ellis’s ‘Glassmakers of Stourbridge and Dudley 1612-2002…’, published by the author in 2002:

Benjamin Richardson credited Thomas Wheeley with having built two cones ‘near the long canal bridge in Brettell Lane and on the north side of the Stourbridge canal.’ There was one glass house with ten pots in 1796, and a second cone was added between 1812 and 1822. By 1834 Thomas Wheeler’s second eldest son, William Seager Wheeley, was running the glasshouse in partnership with his younger brother, John Wheeley, and John Davis, who lived near the works in Brettell Lane. The following year the products of the firm were ‘flint glass, plain and cut’. In the early 1840s, the partners were involved in a fraud scandal involving the excise duty on exported glass, and the business subsequently failed between 1841 and 1845.

John Davis escaped from the scandal, probably unaware of the fraud being perpetrated by his partners, although he was left with considerable debt. On 24 June 1846 John Davis leased the glassworks from William Seager Wheeley for twenty-one years. In 1850 Davis formed a partnership with William Greathead and Richard Green, with Davis essentially being the dominant partner.

Greathead had worked  for William Gammon, glass manufacturer of Aston , near Birmingham, then from 1836 to  1843 at Hawkes’ Dudley Flint glass works, the last two years as a partner. After the failure of Hawkes’ business, he then spent a further seven years at Badgers’ Phoenix Glassworks.

Richard Green was also very experienced having been in the glass trade since joining Hawkes’  in 1837 at the age of  fifteen .

The Great Exhibition of 1851, held in the Crystal palace in Hyde Park, gave the newly formed firm of Davis, Greathead and Green an excellent opportunity to display its ware. The official catalogue shows examples of their painted glass imitations of Greek pottery. Their exhibits included: “a great variety of vases, jars, and scent jars for holding flowers, &c. in the Egyptian, Etruscan and  Grecian styles;many of them cut, coated, gilt , painted in enamel colours, after the antique, with figures ornaments, flowers, landscapes , and marine views, of the following colours, viz. ruby, oriental blue, chrysoprase, turquoise, black, colour, opalescent blue, cornelian, opal frosted , pearl opal, mazareene blue, &c., Topaz, flints &c.”

In 1860, Davis, Greathead and Green vacated Brettell Lane glassworks and moved to Dial Glasshouses. The Brettell Lane glassworks was then altered  and used for a time as an ironworks; the glasshouse being known as ‘the old shell’. By 1882, probably much earlier, it became unsafe and was demolished. In 1934 Samuel Taylor & Son’s chain and anchor works covered the original site.

Fred.

Offline agincourt17

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Interestingly, Jason Ellis also tells us that, regarding Davis, Greathead and Green’s exhibits for the Great Exhibition of 1851:
‘Despite this varied output, as their glass was not marked, it is not possible to identify their products conclusively today. However, in May 1991, a pair of vases were identified and purchased  at Newark Antique Fair by Charles Hajdamach for Broadfield House Glass Museum directly matching a contemporary drawing from the 1851 Exhibition catalogue. They are tall vases in white opaque glass decorated in the Etruscan style.’

Hajdamach’s ‘British Glass 1800-1914’ shows the illustration of three vases by Davis, Gateshead and Green from the Exhibition  catalogue (page 141, plate 106), accompanied with a colour plate showing the actual vases purchased for Broadfield House (page 137, colour plate 13A). Oddly though, Hajdamach identifies Davis, Greathead and Green as operators of the Dial Glasshouse, Amblecote, though they did not actually operate from the Dial Glasshouse in 1851, only transferring their operations there from Brettell Lane in 1860.

I find it really surprising that Davis, Greathead and Green were able to gather such a diverse collection for presentation at the 1851 Exhibition considering that the partnership was less than a year old at that time. Here then is a Stourbridge glasshouse that barely merits a mention nowadays, yet was mixing it with the best in the industry whilst still in their business infancy.

Fred.

Offline agincourt17

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Davis, Greathead and Green at the New Dial Glasshouse, Audnam, 1860-1878.

The New Dial Glasshouse (which supplemented then replaced the nearby ‘Old’ Dial Glasshouse) was built by John Pidock in 1788, with two new cones – a large cone, 80 feet in diameter (although the height to which it was built is not known) for bottle glass, and a smaller cone for broad glass. It was in a prime position close to the turnpike but right on the bank of the Stourbridge canal (itself opened less than 10 years previously). Originally making bottles, crown and coloured glass, by 1853 the glassworks was offered for sale as a flint glassworks with a six-pot bottle house. It presumably stood unoccupied for seven years until it was let on 20 March 1860 to Davis, Greenhead and Green for twenty-one years at an annual rent of Ł200.

John Davis was the principal partner, as he had been at Brettell lane. In 1861 he employed sixty-nine men, sixteen boys and nine women, making him the second largest employer f the six main Stourbridge glassworks.

Richard Green left the partnership on 1st June 1865 to manufacture glass in Manchester.

William Greathead died on 26 February 1867. He left his estate to his widow, Anna Maria, nee Green . One of his executors was his brother-in-law and former partner, Richard Green. On 12th March 1869 Richard Green assigned the lease on Dial Glasshouses to John Davis. Davis now had sole responsibility for the business and the Ł200 per year lease payments.

The firm traded as John Davis & Co. from 1873, and in August 1875 he introduced members of his family to the partnership.

John Davis died in 1878.

Fred.

Offline chopin-liszt

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What a lovely load of research you are compiling.   :)

I hope this thread will be put in the Archives when it is finished.
Cheers, Sue (M)

‘For every problem there is a solution: neat, plausible and wrong’. H.L.Mencken

Offline agincourt17

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And there's more!

The Dial Glasshouse continued to operate under a series of proprietors, though the smaller of the two cones was turned into a foundry before 1886,  and in 1935 repair work was necessary to the glass cone and so the top was taken off being replaced with an interesting self-supporting 'Coolie hat' shaped roof. The cone base (complete with its 1788 datestone) is currently home to Plowden and Thompson who concentrate on high quality scientific glass, material supplies and prestige ‘Tudor Crystal’ tableware (though the assets of both companies were acquired in May 2012 by ET Enterprises Ltd, a manufacturer of photomultipliers. It is remarkable that the production of bespoke glass for research into nuclear physics is still taking place in a factory setting that glassmakers of two hundred years ago would have immediately recognised.

Photos of the Dial Glass works viewed from the canalside pre- and post-1935, showing the truncation of the glass cone.

The location of the glasshouse can be viewed online at DY8 4YN, with Google maps streetview showing the entrance to the Plowden & Thompson cone base at the western end of Stewkins.

Fred.

Offline agincourt17

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So far, i've been unable to find any kind of specific reference to the output of the Dial Glasshouse whilst under the auspices of Davis, Greathead and Green.

Does anyone have any information that might fill the gaps?

Fred.

Offline Paul S.

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I would agree with Sue  -  compliments of outstanding magnitude to Fred for the time and effort taken to provide what must be an original compilation on the history of these references.             Just keep taking the asprin and coffee Fred ;)

Just to let you know I'll try and get to Kew in the next 5 - 7 days.

Offline flying free

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Fred, I'd been wondering the same - that they were mentioned and pictured in the Great Exhibition record, but that the glasshouse was so 'young' and seemingly so little information on it compared to the various Webbs and Richardson.
I've been looking on and off regarding their 'Etruscan' vases because I'm curious to know who might have enamelled them and the similarities they seem to have with apparent Webb Etruscan vases enamelled by Mr Giller (outlines of drawings by Mr Battam).  If I find out any more I'll post.

edited to add - apologies, I meant to also say thank you for sharing all your information.
m

Offline flying free

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http://www.greathead.org/greathead2-o/p104.htm
you have seen this though Fred?

In it, I noticed that it says
'... .  William was listed as the head of the family of on the census of 7 April 1861 in Dennis Park, Amblecote, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, William was a flint glass manufacturer.10 ...'
I never got any further with that but wondered what flint glass had to do with Etruscan vases in opaline glass?
What does 'flint glass manufacturer' mean?
m

 

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