No-one likes general adverts, and ours hadn't been updated for ages, so we're having a clear-out and a change round to make the new ones useful to you. These new adverts bring in a small amount to help pay for the board and keep it free for you to use, so please do use them whenever you can, Let our links help you find great books on glass or a new piece for your collection. Thank you for supporting the Board.

Author Topic: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849  (Read 6221 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #190 on: October 30, 2017, 11:04:21 PM »
Topic:  Where was the glass blown?

A possible interesting aside here -
Re Mr Drayton's process of silvering glass.

His process involved using silver nitrate and oil of cassia and cloves.

This report from The Magazine of Science and School of Arts 1849 - page 245 and 246 details Mr Drayton's process and says that it could be seen on a great variety of richly cut glass at Mr Drayton's Regent Street premises, including vases, decanters etc.  It also mentions some items being exquisitely engraved and the fact that the process could be applied to Bohemian glass.
Click here to view


I don't know how long it was before it was discovered that using oil of cassia and cloves meant that the silvering process broke down and developed brown spots (no time to search for the evidence which I think was in the Art Journal), but it can't have been very long as one of the journals reported on it I believe by 1851.

Just wondering how many of Mr Drayton's (presumably single walled items, since it was Thomson who developed the double walled items) were bought by unsuspecting purchasers only to have them disintegrate rapidly. 
Mr Drayton received a medal in 1848 for the new silvering process. 

Thomson went in on this process patent with Drayton.


Presumably Thomson  was also involved in the glass items that could be seen in Drayton's Regent Street premises?

Where did they come from? Did they just buy ready made transparent glass items and silver them?

Or did they come from Powell's since Mr Thomson appeared to know Powell as he says in the court case that it was Powell who recommended Mellish to him? 


Thomson talks in the court case as though the development of refiners of the glass at his premises in Berners-street (sic) was something that happened after he employed Mellish  and Mellish was in charge of the workers.

So where were Thomson and Drayton getting their 'richly cut' and 'exquisitely engraved' glass from, before Thomson appears to have amended the silvering process so it didn't break down, and  to have struck out on his own with Varnish?

Was this where the Powell/Thomson relationship started maybe?

m




Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #191 on: October 31, 2017, 01:24:17 AM »
Topic: where was the glass blown? 

It does seem as if there are definite connections with France.  As far as I have read (and I am open to correction) they were big into making mirrors so would have been interested in any new silvering process.  That doesn't mean the glass articles WERE blown in France.  I'm just pointing out that it's not beyond imagination that if Varnish and Mellish found a maker able to so do, then some of their glass could have been made in France.


Source: Chambers Edinburgh Journal, page 281, 1st November 1845:
Click here to view



After discussing Mr Drayton's patent taken out in 1843 and asking the question as to why this had not become more widely known, it was determined this was because Mr Drayton was having a not easily resolved technical problem with his process.

'... In this emergency, M. Tourasse, to whose working Mr Drayton had committed the patent he had taken out for France, has succeeded, after a year spent in experiments, in perfecting the process.  M. Tourasse submitted the invention to the Academie de Sciences, who appointed a commission to inquire into it's merits, which it fully confirmed. 
On the 20th August last, Mr Drayton's agent experimented before a committee of the Society for the Encouragement of the Useful Arts and succeeded in silvering a double glass in half an hour.'
  (my words - I think this Society might have been Scottish?)


I don't know where in the process Mr Drayton was at this point - maybe still at the oil of cassia and cloves stage, but the point remains that he patented in France and worked with a Frenchman on this.  Makes it sound not that difficult to be doing business with France.


p.s.  I have re read Tallis.
In my opinion Tallis mentions that Varnish was showing wonderful blue red and green glass.  They mention that British glass was by 1851 matching the previous colour superiority of Bohemian glass.  They mention that some of the Varnish glass was made at Powell's.  They mention that the Varnish glass items shown were double-walled.
They do not draw all these points together and do not present as a statement of fact, that 'Powell's made double-walled glass in red, blue and green for Varnish.' 
That might be 'interpreted' from the separate comments they have written.  Indeed it might be true in the end.  But it is not presented as a statement of fact.

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #192 on: October 31, 2017, 07:43:47 AM »
Topic: Dr Stenhouse's discovery that using grape sugar and heat improved the silvering process - March 1845

In the Philosophical Magazine of March 1845 Dr Stenhouse reported on the difficulty of Mr Drayton's process patented by Mr Drayton using oils of cassia and cloves. He reported that brown spotting appeared with weeks (answering my question in reply #190) and that this was a serious problem with Mr Drayton's process using oil of cassia and cloves. He reported that he had experimented and that using grape sugar and heat produced a good item, but says that the 'coating is much darker than that produced either by aldehyde or Drayton's process'

Click here to view


So it seems that Mr Stenhouse's process worked but produced a darker effect. 

This was in March 1845.


It seems Mr Drayton continued to experiment using M. Tourasse in France to do these experiments and in August 1845 M. Tourasse apparently resolved the difficulties and presented to the Academie which was then reported on in Chambers in November 1845.

I don't know if Mr Drayton refined Mr Stenhouse's process which had used grape sugar and heat.  But if Mr Drayton and M. Tourasse did, it was presumably to overcome his own problem of oil of cassia, and also Mr Stenhouse's problem of the darker surface result ( a dark surface presumably being no good for mirrors and for reflectors etc).

This would have been the state of play for Drayton on silvering process as of 1845 November.

Therefore by the time the The Magazine of Science and School of Arts 1849 - page 245 and 246, details Mr Drayton's process and says that it could be seen on a great variety of richly cut glass at Mr Drayton's Regent Street premises, including vases, decanters etc.  and also mentions some items being exquisitely engraved, and the fact that the process could be applied to Bohemian glass, this problem with the spotting seems to have been resolved (answering my comment in reply #190)


So  as reported in 1849, Mr Drayton was selling wares silvered, from his premises in Regent Street, and it seems by then the process did not cause brown spotting. 

I presume these were single walled items because:

- Mr Thomson went in with Mr Drayton in 1848 on the process

- Mr Thomson says he himself invented using double walled items to ensure the silver coating was not damaged by whatever liquid was used in those items that required to be used for liquids.

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #193 on: October 31, 2017, 08:03:24 AM »
Question - In 1849, when reports referred to 'Bohemian' Glass, exactly what did they mean?


The report I discussed in reply#190 from The Magazine of Science and School of Arts was dated 1849 -(see page 245 and 246) and details Mr Drayton's process. It says that it could be seen on a great variety of richly cut glass at Mr Drayton's Regent Street premises, including vases, decanters etc.  It also mentions some items being exquisitely engraved and the fact that the process could be applied to Bohemian glass.

Quote extract:
'Bohemian glass also, maybe silvered within (sic), by the process, the brilliancy it imparts to cut-glass, leading it, we are confident, to it's frequent adoption in the manufacture of chandeliers, candelabra and table-lamp pedestals'.


They seem to imply (to me) that
a)  'cut glass' is known as 'Bohemian glass' - does anyone read that differently?
b) that in 1849 Bohemia was known for producing cut glass items as compared to England which generally wasn't known for producing items with cut faceted surfaces?

If so, then this could indicate that the goblets and vases and items produced by Mr Thomson, that had faceted surfaces, may not have been produced in England? The cutting on the double-walled pieces of Varnish & Co glass looks to me as though it was slightly 'old fashioned' for 1851.  For example, this style of cutting can be seen on Bohemian glass from the 1830s.  It can also be seen on designs from William Haden Richardson from c.1844. (CH British Glass 1800-1914 pg 82) . 

The shape of some of the goblets also looks quite French,   compared to some of the English glass of c.1850 (see above and also CH British Glass 1800-1914 page 87 for examples of Bacchus glass c.1850 and page 133 for examples of glass shown by W, Naylor at Crystal Palace Exh., and 135 for the examples shown by Green as just as a few examples).

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #194 on: October 31, 2017, 10:25:25 AM »
Topic:  Where was the glass blown?


Would I be right in saying that in the 1840s there were only two glassworks in London - new Falcon glassworks ( Apsley Pellatt's glassworks) and Powell's Whitefriars?

http://www.glassmaking-in-london.co.uk/glasshouses


(a reminder to me - need to revisit the fact that Varnish visited Stourbridge)


I did find one other listed as A J Nash Glass Manufacturer in this London Street Directory but thought it odd it's  not listed on the above link.  However, subsequently I found the info in the second link (see page 15) which pertains to the name A J Nash and the author says 'they were surely retailers.  I'm not suggesting the author is definitely right, but it seems he might be.  They retailed Minton's china.) :
Click here to view

http://www.merchant-taylors.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/pdf-for-website-2.pdf


so it seems, only two makers in London in 1845-1851.

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #195 on: October 31, 2017, 07:07:53 PM »
Topic:  The demise of Mr Thomas Drayton

Source:  The London Gazette Part 1 page 86
Click here to view


On the 3rd January 1849  Mr Thomas Drayton was declared bankrupt.


That is such a terrible thing to happen to the man whose experiments changed lives so that mirror makers would not follow in the footsteps of all those whose lives were damaged and lost through making mercury glass.

m

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #196 on: October 31, 2017, 07:29:44 PM »
Topic:  Where was the glass blown?

Source:  The Friend  (A Religious and Literary Journal), Vol XXXX 7th September1848 page 6  (it has a supplement first in the link so you need to scroll down past that first page 6 in the supplement, to the main papers)
Click here to view
Page 6

It is copied from this 'The Literary Pioneer Apr 1948 1848 page 311:
Click here to view



In the article (which I think I have linked before on the thread) they report of the glass they saw at Mr Drayton's premises, the following:

'...Some of the specimens of coloured Bohemian vases at the establishment are exceedingly beautiful.  The red, and blue,and green, and yellow colours, are made,by the process, to resemble precious stones, emeralds, garnets, rubies  and so forth, and exhibit a depth and brilliancy of tone scarcely to be imagined. ...'

Now, I don't know IF the glass was single walled.  It MIGHT have been all single walled. 

I don't trust the reports anymore totally: the terminology they use to describe things is different to that we would use now;  they often write things such as 'we have it on good authority' or 'we have been told' and it feels that sometimes they don't know what they are talking about so just write it up; I have seen it written in a scientific paper of that period, that ruby glass was made by taking it out the furnace when it wasn't coloured and leaving it in the sun to heat and turn red; lastly, note to self,  if the wording doesn't state something specific then I think we I can incorrectly read into a group of sentences what we I think they might imply.

The way they talk in this article, I would think the items were single walled, but I don't know, because it could be that they have made assumptions on describing it.  I am assuming that Thomson was the first one to have the eureka moment of the double walled glass idea when he was with Varnish.

Mr Drayton's big problem will have been the wrong additive to the nitrate and also that the silver was not 'water/ink/liquid proof' I would think.
Mr Thomson appears to have addressed both those issues.




Mr Drayton went Bankrupt 9 months after that article was published.

-  I wonder what happened to his Bohemian Glass?

-  And I wonder if Thomson knew how to get the Bohemian glass from the Bohemian glassmakers/sellers that Mr Drayton was using?

- And I wonder about the items which had two walls of glass joined together at the rim by whatever method appropriate, as described in Thomson and Varnish's patent and seen in that one item V&A.  Were Mr Drayton's vases all single wall?  Did Thomson keep some of the Bohemian items and have an inner layer blown to set inside them and finish at the rim?


m

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #197 on: October 31, 2017, 09:57:57 PM »
Topic:  What happened to Thomson?

Source:  Medical Times and Gazette - a report from 16 Nov 1872 (page 551) looking back on previous thirty years talks about Hale Thomson.
Click here to view


It says he sank a supposed 60,000 into the silvering glass business and it was a failure - he was a broken man.  He was found dead in his bed in Clarges Street having died of a chloroform overdose.  But I don't know if that was linked to the business failure really, or just a happened later on

(by the calculator I used it says that would be 5.85m today! that can't be right can it? 


I don't know what year this death pertains to yet.  I've not found the death announcement, this was just a report looking back on the department at the Westminster hospital where he was a surgeon.


Someone was taking his money.  It says in the court case that when Mellish left they asked Douglas to reduce the costs and he reduced the costs by 70% on what they had paid to Powells. 

So it does read as if someone (Mellish or Douglas)  was inflating the invoices and pocketing the money.
I found a patent that Mellish made for something else in 1853 as well.  Does anyone know how much it cost to patent things?  I read that it was enormously expensive up to ?1853??

It's a sorry tale actually.
All those lives saved by Drayton's idea and experiments, no more deaths from mercury poisoning, important developments in silvering glass were used for reflectors and many other things than objects of beauty, and a Medal and he went bankrupt.
All those glittering reports and goblets sent to Prince Albert and a Medal for Thomson and he was embezzled out of a fortune and died in sad circumstances.


p.s. I seem to have found a report from the Frankfurt Zeitung 1850  that intimates the glass was not being made in Bohemia - but I don't know how they would know that to be honest.  They just saw it being presented as 'English Crystal' with the silvering process.

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #198 on: October 31, 2017, 10:27:08 PM »
Topic:  What happened to Thomson?   UPDATE


He died on 22nd January 1860

https://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E003265b.htm


Part quote extract:

'In his profession his fault was excess of audacity, which occasionally made him neglect necessary precautions. As an operator on the eyes he was unsurpassed, and the combined delicacy and firmness of his touch ensured almost invariable success. He published only two courses of his hospital lectures on surgery - on "Diseases and Deformities of the Spine", which later appeared in the Lancet about the year 1845. At that time he had during some years devoted his attention to the study of these subjects.

After his retirement he engaged disastrously in a speculation called the 'Glass-silvering Company', and sank upwards of 40,000 therein. This affected his health, and he resorted to drugs in order to obtain sleep. Constantly and rashly raising his doses, he succumbed to an overdose of chlorodyne on Jan. 22nd, 1860, and was found by his servant lying on his back dead in his study.

In person Thomson was of about the middle height, strongly built, with remarkably dark hair and eyes and a florid complexion. People who knew him little thought him haughty and brusque, but he was a steadfast, generous friend, possessed of great personal courage, and was much beloved by his intimates. He was an early member of the Athenaeum Club, Consulting Surgeon to the West London Institute for Diseases of the Eye, Fellow of the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society and London Medical Society. He resided at 4 Clarges Street, Piccadilly. He left a widow and several children.'


40,000 is still going to be nearly 4m in current money by my calculator.  Oh my.

Offline flying free

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 9870
    • UK
Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #199 on: November 01, 2017, 12:07:54 AM »
Topic:  where was the glass blown?

What do we know about the Wood Brothers Glass company in Barnsley Yorkshire.

I came across this accidentally and remembered Mellish and Varnish had gone to York.  I presumed to present the goblets at the Banquet.

However I've just found this info on Graces:

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Wood_Brothers_Glass_Co

Part quote here:

'1834 The partnership changed when brothers John and James Wood arrived from Staffordshire to join Perkes. Richard Perkes was the glassmaker, James Wood the glasscutter and John Wood the manager, and all had worked in the Stourbridge glass industry. Their speciality was fine table glass, jugs, cruets, bottles and even lampshades - particularly flint glass cased with gold ruby glass with incised designs.

1851 Examples were exhibited in the Great Exhibition.

1854 Richard Perkes died and William Wood left the Baccarat glassworks in France to join his brothers. The business then became known as Wood Brothers.

1870 Another brother, Alphonse, who had also been at Bacarat, joined the partnership. He brought techniques of gilding and etching.'

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk
Look for glass on
ebay.co.uk
Visit the Glass Encyclopedia
link to glass encyclopedia
Look for glass on
ebay.com (us)
Visit the Online Glass Museum
link to glass museum


This website is provided by Angela Bowey, PO Box 113, Paihia 0247, New Zealand