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Author Topic: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849  (Read 1431 times)

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Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #110 on: October 19, 2017, 05:07:07 PM »
In the original post, Andrew asked "... can anyone help?" with information on his "plain red/crimson goblet from the e.varnish mercury glass range". This thread quickly developed into perhaps a lot more than many of us expected. But from my viewpoint, I think it has been fascinating, if at times not easy to follow, and sadly sometimes rather contentious.

===============================-
I think we now need to take a bit of time out.

From the court case information, we have been able to confirm that Whitefriars did make and supply double walled glass items according to specification by Frederick Hale Thompson's company and that Thomson's company, with many workers, finished the glass items with silvering, sealing and cutting. We also now know that Whitefriars was not the only company to supply the double walled glass items and that some were even contracted out to a company in, at least, France!

The information gleaned from existing books etc. (and not just the few that have been mentioned several times in this thread) has been, for good reason, quite vague. In some cases specific wording in the general literature suggesting a definite point of view has been shown to be inaccurate but in some cases it has proven to be correct.

We cannot do much about the existing literature etc., but we can, for ourselves at least, aim to set out a list of factual points relating to the whole scenario of the double walled silvered glass items from Thomson's company and sold under the Varnish / Thomson / Lund identities. We can also set out a summary of how Thomson's company operated. In addition we can compile a list of points that may benefit from further research.

I recommend that anyone who wishes to assist in the above activities should take the time to read the court case information and prepare points that can be easily and briefly set out in this thread, with a view to later compilation [Which I can do with my moderator hat on.] The pdf files Christine has set up are, indeed, easy to read.
KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #111 on: October 19, 2017, 05:15:24 PM »
Kev, I hate to be a pedant but does it say that the glass bought in France was double-walled?

'We also now know that Whitefriars was not the only company to supply the double walled glass items and that some were even contracted out to a company in, at least, France!'


We don't know that the Regent Street Shop and the company was only selling double walled glass.

If I am wrong please feel free to delete this post.
m

Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #112 on: October 19, 2017, 05:21:24 PM »
It's a good point to start a list with. Thanks.

I will investigate why I said that. Might just have been an unfounded interpretation on my part. :)
KevinH

Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #113 on: October 19, 2017, 05:50:00 PM »
Two interesting points - there were quite a few out-door workers, i.e., in their own workshops, and I think mention was made of staining the glass.

If the information could be coherently assembled into mutually agreed a short article (I'm no good at that sort of thing), I will edit it and we can put it somewhere for posterity - perhaps the Glass Encyclopaedia

Perhaps the moderator should correct his misspelling of Arpil  :P too. My fingers kept wanting to put 1952... [Mod: corrected  ;D]

I don't think there is another case to find. After a bit of ferreting, I think Mellish was found not guilty in May

Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #114 on: October 19, 2017, 06:16:31 PM »
I can have a go at compiling the short article (as well as collating salient points in this thread - using my magic moderator's hat).
KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #115 on: October 19, 2017, 06:40:00 PM »
I know this needs to go into a family tree article, but:

 Thomson talks about three patents during the courts cases. 

Kev had only listed two of the patents Thomson discussed in the court cases on here previously.  (A third patent was listed by Kev but that pertained to August 22 1852 i.e. after these court cases and so is not one of the three Thomson refers to.)

So I searched for the Thomas Drayton and F. H. Thomson patent as Mr Thomson appears to talk about this one as the first patent.

a) Thomson says re Patent 1 - 'I made an agreement to carry out the patent with a man named Thomas Drayton, about Oct. 1848' and later on he says
- 'the first patent in 1848, was for silvering glass and other surfaces'

I looked up Thomas Drayton and there is a patent for silvering glass in his name only it seems for Dec 1848  (i.e. Mr F. H. Thomson is not noted here as being on it, neither is there any information on this source for this patent listed under Thomson's name although the other two patents have his name on them):
Click here to view


I believe this is Patent 1 as discussed by Thomson:
 'DRAYTON, T., of Regent street; improvements in silvering glass and other surfaces, December 4, 1848. Vol xiv., p38.'



So it seems F.H.Thomson agreed to carry out the work involved in what this patent application was for, not that he was named on the patent with Thomas Drayton.

(Please note that online in other articles, I think I have seen Thomas Drayton referred to as Michael Drayton iirc - I suspect this is a mistake)



Source:

This is from the November 1851 trial and is Thomson speaking whilst being cross-examined by Mr Montagus Chambers:

'Cross-examined by MR. MONTAGUS CHAMBERS. Q. You say you are a surgeon? A. Yes; I have been in considerable practice—I was very much engaged in professional business until I embarked in this silvering of glass—I then gave up my practice to a considerable extent, but was still engaged in it at 48, Berners-street, Oxford-street, closely adjacent to the premises—I made an agreement to carry out the patent with a man named Thomas Drayton, about Oct. 1848—I had commenced working the patent, and had silvered a great many things before I was introduced to Mr. Mellish —the cause of ray introduction to him was not some ink-bottles or inkstands being sent to me by Mr. Lund, of Fleet-street, it was my speaking to Mr. Powell, the owner of Whitefriars glass-works, telling him I wanted a man to carry out the silvering—that must have been in the summer of 1849—I recollect Mellish bringing some inkstands from Mr. Lund to be silvered; that was previous to my entering into a written agreement with him, but he had been with me a good deal in my silvering-room—I learned afterwards that a person had suggested the idea of silvering inkstands, and that Mr. Lund had an interest in the patent—I

did not learn from Mellish that Mr. Lund had made him a present of his interest—I have not silvered any ink-bottles myself of that construction; my first experiments with Mr. Lund's inkstands were perfectly successful, as far as the silvering went; they were perfectly silvered, but the ink being poured in upon it, took off the silver—Mellish did not invent the plan of a double glass—I took out a patent for that very purpose; that was not the patent in which I had purchased an interest in the first instance—I never knew Mellish make any experiments in putting the silver between two glasses, he took my directions to make glass suitable for my patent which I had been at work at months before I knew there was such a man as Mellish in the world; I hired him for the purpose of going to Powell's glass-works, and making hollow glass for the purpose of the patent which I had been at work at for months—the first patent in 1848, was for silvering glass and other surfacesI got the second patent for introducing silver between two glasses, in Dec. 1849, two months after Mellish had worked for me—previous to getting out that patent, I had tried the experiment, and had shown it; it was perfectly well known—Mellish was engaged in making those experiments before I took out the patent'




I'll make a second and third separate post for the Patent 2. and Patent 3.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #116 on: October 19, 2017, 07:05:31 PM »
Following on:-

Mr F. H. Thomsons' Patent 2

Thomson says re Patent 2 (in the court case of 1851):

' I am by profession a surgeon; I purchased a share in a patent for silvering glass; Mr. Varnish was my partner.'
and
'Mellish did not invent the plan of a double glass—I took out a patent for that very purpose; that was not the patent in which I had purchased an interest in the first instance'
and
'I never knew Mellish make any experiments in putting the silver between two glasses, he took my directions to make glass suitable for my patent which I had been at work at months before I knew there was such a man as Mellish in the world; I hired him for the purpose of going to Powell's glass-works, and making hollow glass for the purpose of the patent which I had been at work at for months'
and
'I got the second patent for introducing silver between two glasses, in Dec. 1849, two months after Mellish had worked for me—previous to getting out that patent, I had tried the experiment, and had shown it; it was perfectly well known'

and
'Mr. Varnish was the active man, and looked after the mercantile part, but had nothing to do with the silvering, he knew nothing about it—I knew something about it; I was the only person who did, I patented it—I suggested after conversing with Mr. Varnish, that we should take out a second patent to protect the silver entirely, by hermetically sealing it from the atmosphere, introducing it between two coatings of glass; but I want to explain to the Court, if I were to take this inkstand, silver it, and then drop this little glass-holder into it, it would be an inkstand silvered between two coatings of glass, but that is totally distinct—preventing the air from getting to it is what I call hermetically sealing it'



I believe this is Patent 2 as discussed by Thomson in the source below given by Kev in reply 76 on this thread:
 '

"Thomson F. H., of Berners street and Varnish E. of Kensington,
Improvements in the manufacture of inkstands , mustard pots, and other vessels
December 19, 1849"







Sources:

Source for patent 2 - From books.google:-
A General Index to the Repertory of Patent Inventions and other Discoveries and Improvements in Arts, Manufactures and Agriculture ...
The "1815 to 1845 Inclusive" edition of that book
(but it includes later dates as well)



Source for Thomson's own words:-

a) 1851 trial
60. THOMAS ROBERT MELLISH and JAMES DOUGLAS feloniously forging and uttering a receipt for 4l. 10s.; with intent to defraud.

MESSRS. CLARKSON and BALLANTINE conducted the Prosecution.

FREDERICK HALE THOMSON . I am by profession a surgeon; I purchased a share in a patent for silvering glass; Mr. Varnish was my partner.

b) This is also from the November 1851 trial and is Thomson speaking whilst being cross-examined by Mr Montagus Chambers:

'Cross-examined by MR. MONTAGUS CHAMBERS. Q. You say you are a surgeon? A. Yes; I have been in considerable practice—I was very much engaged in professional business until I embarked in this silvering of glass—I then gave up my practice to a considerable extent, but was still engaged in it at 48, Berners-street, Oxford-street, closely adjacent to the premises—I made an agreement to carry out the patent with a man named Thomas Drayton, about Oct. 1848—I had commenced working the patent, and had silvered a great many things before I was introduced to Mr. Mellish —the cause of ray introduction to him was not some ink-bottles or inkstands being sent to me by Mr. Lund, of Fleet-street, it was my speaking to Mr. Powell, the owner of Whitefriars glass-works, telling him I wanted a man to carry out the silvering—that must have been in the summer of 1849—I recollect Mellish bringing some inkstands from Mr. Lund to be silvered; that was previous to my entering into a written agreement with him, but he had been with me a good deal in my silvering-room—I learned afterwards that a person had suggested the idea of silvering inkstands, and that Mr. Lund had an interest in the patent—I

did not learn from Mellish that Mr. Lund had made him a present of his interest—I have not silvered any ink-bottles myself of that construction; my first experiments with Mr. Lund's inkstands were perfectly successful, as far as the silvering went; they were perfectly silvered, but the ink being poured in upon it, took off the silver—Mellish did not invent the plan of a double glass—I took out a patent for that very purpose; that was not the patent in which I had purchased an interest in the first instanceI never knew Mellish make any experiments in putting the silver between two glasses, he took my directions to make glass suitable for my patent which I had been at work at months before I knew there was such a man as Mellish in the world; I hired him for the purpose of going to Powell's glass-works, and making hollow glass for the purpose of the patent which I had been at work at for months] - the first patent in 1848, was for silvering glass and other surfaces—I got the second patent for introducing silver between two glasses, in Dec. 1849, two months after Mellish had worked for me—previous to getting out that patent, I had tried the experiment, and had shown it; it was perfectly well known—Mellish was engaged in making those experiments before I took out the patent'...
...'Mr. Varnish was the active man, and looked after the mercantile part, but had nothing to do with the silvering, he knew nothing about it—I knew something about it; I was the only person who did, I patented it—I suggested after conversing with Mr. Varnish, that we should take out a second patent to protect the silver entirely, by hermetically sealing it from the atmosphere, introducing it between two coatings of glass; but I want to explain to the Court, if I were to take this inkstand, silver it, and then drop this little glass-holder into it, it would be an inkstand silvered between two coatings of glass, but that is totally distinct—preventing the air from getting to it is what I call hermetically sealing it'

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #117 on: October 19, 2017, 07:30:04 PM »
Following on:-

Mr F. H. Thomsons' Patent 3

Thomson says re Patent 3:

a) 'I took out a third patent in the conclusion of 1850, in my name, and that of Mellish—it was for improvements in staining and cutting glass for the purpose of silvering cutting it in a peculiar manner—I did not make articles under that patent—I am not aware that any were in the Exhibition. I exhibited some articles of double hollow work of every description—Mr. Deane has got the list of articles exhibited from our firm—Mellish had no joint-interest in any manufacture connected with the silvering of glass, that I am aware of; it was never carried out—I saw the patent that I and Mellish took out; the agent who took it out for us was Mr. Cartmell—I believe I and Mellish saw him previous to taking it out; we asked him his opinion; it was in the autumn of 1850—I cannot swear which of us described the patent to Mr. Cartmell, it was taken out conjointly—it was described as a patent for cutting, staining, silvering, and fixing articles of glass—I cannot speak to the very words—I believe I understood the invention thoroughly when I went to Mr. Cartmell—I thought I did at the time—I had gone through the matter myself—I do not know that anybody told me what it was—I swear Mellish did not tell me the whole process, he might have suggested some portion of it, and I believe he did; he suggested some portion of the cutting, as a practical man—he had not been engaged in the silvering of glass for eighteen months; he had nothing to do with the scientific part

b) 'Aug. 1850, Mellish and I became joint patentees of an invention for improvements in cutting, staining, and silvering glass—it was understood if I look the patent out and paid for it, that he merely as my workman should assign it for a consideration—I asked him to fulfil the engagement he had made, and he declined to resign his interests in the patent—
I may perhaps state that the patent was never completed, for the machinery to carry it out bad never been made'.



I believe this is Patent 3, as discussed by Thomson in the sources below, info given by Kev in reply 76 on this thread:

 "Thomson F. H. of Berners street and Mellish T. R. of Portland street,
Improvements in cutting, staining, silvering, and fixing articles of glass
August 22, 1850"




Note: -
1) I don't quite understand the language used, but I think from reading that Mr Mellish was asked by Mr Thomson (and appears to have initially agreed to do so)  to resign or relinquish his part in this patent .  It appears from reading the cases that Mr Mellish in the end refused to relinquish his part in this patent.

2) It appears from Mr Thomson's wording that this patent was never put into action.









Sources:

Source for patent 3 - From books.google:-
A General Index to the Repertory of Patent Inventions and other Discoveries and Improvements in Arts, Manufactures and Agriculture ...
The "1815 to 1845 Inclusive" edition of that book
(but it includes later dates as well)



Source for Thomson's own words:-
a) This is from the November 1851 trial and is Thomson speaking :

'I took out a third patent in the conclusion of 1850, in my name, and that of Mellish—it was for improvements in staining and cutting glass for the purpose of silvering cutting it in a peculiar manner—I did not make articles under that patent—I am not aware that any were in the Exhibition. I exhibited some articles of double hollow work of every description—Mr. Deane has got the list of articles exhibited from our firm—Mellish had no joint-interest in any manufacture connected with the silvering of glass, that I am aware of; it was never carried out—I saw the patent that I and Mellish took out; the agent who took it out for us was Mr. Cartmell—I believe I and Mellish saw him previous to taking it out; we asked him his opinion; it was in the autumn of 1850—I cannot swear which of us described the patent to Mr. Cartmell, it was taken out conjointly—it was described as a patent for cutting, staining, silvering, and fixing articles of glass—I cannot speak to the very words—I believe I understood the invention thoroughly when I went to Mr. Cartmell—I thought I did at the time—I had gone through the matter myself—I do not know that anybody told me what it was—I swear Mellish did not tell me the whole process, he might have suggested some portion of it, and I believe he did; he suggested some portion of the cutting, as a practical man—he had not been engaged in the silvering of glass for eighteen months; he had nothing to do with the scientific part—I did not direct Mr. Cookney to draw up a paper and present it for the signature of Mellish; the matter was talked over by Mellish, myself, and Mr. Cookney, but I am not aware that I gave any special instructions on the subject'

b) Court Case 3 10th May 1852 Reference Number: t18520510-502
Thomson being cross-examined by Mr Serjeant Shee

'MR. SERJEANT SHEE. Q. Was this shop taken for Mellish by your firm, or did he take it himself. A. I really cannot answer that question—Mr. Varnish had more to do with it than I had—I really do not know whether Mellish took it, or Mr. Varnish—it was done by my afterwards consenting to it—I went there sometimes—there was a regular stock book kept—I cannot of my own knowledge say whether when be left, the stock was checked by that book—Mr. Varnish and Mr. Dean can tell—in Aug. 1850, Mellish and I became joint patentees of an invention for improvements in cutting, staining, and silvering glass—it was understood if I look the patent out and paid for it, that he merely as my workman should assign it for a consideration—I asked him to fulfil the engagement he had made, and he declined to resign his interests in the patent—I may perhaps state that the patent was never completed, for the machinery to carry it out bad never been made—I believe I asked him to sign a paper, which had been prepared by Mr. Cookney, and be refused to do so—I was displeased at his refusal to do that which he had agreed to do—I did not express my displeasure strongly—I said very little about it—there was no coolness between us on that account at all—there was no coolness at all until within a very short period of his leaving the service—I do not recollect a coolness—some two or three months previous to his leaving me, I had spoken to him of the necessity of having a person who could take the higher grade of work, and that I should be obliged to associate such a person in the work, and that raised a great coolness—that was the only disagreement we had—my impression is that he left, in consequence of my telling him that I intended to associate a person with him who would supersede him—he told me he should go—I cannot say whether he said be wished to leave on the next Monday—he said, he should go immediately—he gave a week's warning—he was a weekly servant'

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #118 on: October 19, 2017, 07:57:02 PM »
Question:

Was it Thomas Drayton who discovered using silver nitrate on glass instead of using, in his words, 'quicksilver' (is that mercury?)? [Mod: edited to confirm ... quicksilver = mercury]

Was this the same silvering he and Thomson was using?

Sorry, if this is irrelevant then please do say as I know nothing about chemistry. I just thought it might be interesting for this purpose.



This was patented in 1844:

https://www.google.com/patents/US3702

Publication number   US3702 A
Publication type   Grant
Publication date   Aug 12, 1844
Inventors   Thomas Drayton

'DESCRIPTION  (OCR text may contain errors)
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE. I

THOMAS DRAYTON, OF BRIGHTON, ENGLAND.

I Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 3,702, dated August 12, 1844.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, THOMAS DRAY'ION, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, and now residing at Brighton, in the county of Sussex, gentleman, have invented or discovered new and useful lmprovemen ts in Coating Glass with Silver for Looking-Glasses and other uses; and I, the said THOMAS DRAYTON, do hereby declare that the naturelof my said invention and the manner in which the same is to be per formed are fully described and ascertained in and by the following statement thereof-that is to say: I

The invention consists of causing silver to be deposited onto glass from a solution of silver by deoxidizing the oxide of silver in solution in such a manner that the precipitate of silver will adhere to the glass without previous coating of metallic substances to the glass.

In order that the invention may be fully understood and readily carried into effect, I will proceed to describe the means pursued by me.

I would first remark that the invention is applicable in the manufacture of looking-glass and in other cases where it is desired to have glass coated with silver.

It is well known thatin silvering glass in the making of looking-glasses as at present practiced by the use of quicksilver the process is very unhealthy, and it is an important feature in this invention that this injurious and unhealthy process is dispensed with, and the glass is coated with silver deposited from a solution ter the same and combine therewith three ounces of spirit. I prefer spirits of ...'


/ etc...

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #119 on: October 19, 2017, 08:37:05 PM »
oh ...
1) see page 1 of this report (photograph attached)

http://www.svc.org/HistoryofVacuumCoating/Historical-Papers/Making-of-Reflecting-Surfaces_FleetwoodPress.pdf

Very technical (for me)  and skim read it but it is from 1920 and some of the discussion demonstrates the difficulty they had of making silvered reflective surfaces even up to 1920.


'...
DRAYTON stands at the head of this list with his patent of 1843, in which the reducing agent was composed of alcohol and oil of cassia. (May I remind you that oil of cassia contains an aldehyde group ?)  His invention proved a failure in practice, because his mirrors became spotted in time. 
In 1848 he modified his process, using grape sugar and alcohol in the reducing fluid and working at 160 degrees F
.'



I searched a bit further


2) In 1846 Mr Drayton's oil of cassia problem with spotting was discussed in:

The Journal of the Franklyn Institute on page 282 and 283
Click here to view

Various experiments are described using different substances and one of the substances is grape sugar.  It says when unassisted by heat it takes a long time to dry, but assisted by a slight heat it forms in a few minutes.
The outcome in this instance appears to say that the result using grape sugar is much darker than Mr Drayton's result (using oil of cassia).

So at some point Mr Drayton presumably put two and two together and used part of his process and added grape sugar to make it work somehow along with working it at the right temperature (160 degrees F according to that report in 1920), and it worked. Hence the patent in 1848.

 

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