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Author Topic: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849  (Read 1727 times)

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Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #70 on: October 17, 2017, 05:15:02 PM »
Yes you may be correct.  Interesting though that Varnish was showing 'reflectors' as well as silvered double wall glass items.

Something has occurred to me.

According to everything I read ( no original sources yet), E Varnish and F. Hale Thomson patented this double walled silvered glass in 1849 in England.
I have read a couple of times (no original sources quoted) that double walled silvered glass 'was being made in the 1840s', e.g. written in this kind of way:

'Mercury glass was first made in the 1840s, and patented in England in 1849 and in the United States in 1855.'
http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/2010/05/06/mercury-glass-on-display-for-mothers-day/

When it's written in that kind of way, it implies double walled silvered glass was being made somewhere in the world during the 1840s, but finally patented in England in 1849 and then America in 1855 doesn't it?

I've tried to translate and read through my one source in German, and I can't see anywhere that there is proof this was being made in the 1840s in Germany or Bohemia for example before 1849.

Christine commented about needing to see the Varnish and Hale Thomson patent.  We need to see that as a starting point.  As that patent is quoted as the starting point for the production of double walled silvered glass in my German book (as far as I can make out).  i.e. it implies it all started with their patent.


We also need to see that James Powell book source 'Whitefriars Glass: James Powell and Sons of London' page 30.
m

Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #71 on: October 17, 2017, 05:29:48 PM »
I think we need another voice in this discusssion:
Diane Lytwyn, author of Pictorial Guide to Silvered Mercury Glass: Identification & Values

We have mentioned her article Mercury Glass - Silvered Glass (co-produced with Ivo Haanstra and Angela Bowey) which deals with "European" examples, but our interest so far has only been for a couple of references. Maybe there is further info in her book. Anyone have a copy?
KevinH

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #72 on: October 17, 2017, 07:43:22 PM »
Tallis's History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World's Industry in 1851:
By Beard,Mayall, etc, etc.
https://archive.org/stream/cu31924021897255#page/n11/mode/2up/search/Varnish

Page 81 (photograph 1 ) says
'Specimens of the beautiful silvered glass lately become so fashionable, and which has formed so ornamental a feature at various public banquets, were exhibited by Messrs. Varnish, of Berners Street.
The silvered globes were already familiar to the public, but there were various other articles such as chess table, goblets, curtain poles etc which showed the great adaptability of the material to ornamental purposes'.

So, it seems the public were already familiar with this silvered glass prior to the Exhibition in 1851.




Page 82 has the reference about Powell making the Varnish glass (see photo 2):
https://archive.org/stream/cu31924021897255#page/n141/mode/2up/search/Varnish

'In the articles exhibited by Mr Varnish and Mr Mellish, these colours were well shown.  Most of the glass exhibited by them was manufactured by Messrs. Powell and Co., Whitefriars and this itself presented a notable peculiarity.  All the glass was double, the object of this being to enable the patentees to fill the inside with a solution of nitrate of silver , to which grape sugar was added,  when all the silver held in solution was deposited in a beautiful film of revived silver over every part of the glass. This silvering ...'

This does seem to say that Powell was responsible for making 'some' of the double walled glass for Mr Varnish and Mr Mellish.

But... they only made 'most of the glass exhibited by Varnish and Mellish'.

The point  is when Tallis says  ALL of the glass  was double. 
Does this mean that all the Powell glass was double (implied by the use of the words 'Most of the glass exhibited by them was manufactured by Messrs. Powell and Co., Whitefriars and this itself presented a notable peculiarity.') or does it mean all the Varnish and Mellish glass was double, therefore Powell made some of the double glass and another/other makers made the rest?



It also says that the idea was then that the 'patentees fill the inside with a solution of nitrate of silver.'

hmm.
m




Offline drewfind

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #73 on: October 17, 2017, 09:32:13 PM »
I have had a good dig

Varnish, Thomson and Mellish were all associated in the patent description.Varnish and Thomson patent : improvements to inkstands etc 1849, immediately underneath and associated to is Mellish : improvements in cutting,silvering and fixing articles of glass 1850.

1851 Varnish exhibits silvered goblets, atlases, etc, Thomson absent, Powells exhibit glass tube joint

Mellish, by 1850, already had the process in a workable form, this would only be possible if he was involved in the initial process, the person who Thomson and Varnish had to turn too, to enable their idea, therefore, all working together.
This was a new,dangerous and expensive process, not something you could pull off overnight

After they submit their patent, Thomson and Varnish have a falling out, it could be at this point that the two different seals come into play, still working with Mellish, but each with their own prefered cut, design and colour, and each having personal involvement in the production of their individual pieces.

Once the first set of samples/exhibits were finished, Varnish took his to the exhibition, Thomson was not there, and if he was, he was not exhibiting

Powells COULD have then invited Thomson, or Thomson introduced himself, with his samples, and then gone on to work alongside them, but, how long would it have taken Powells to gear up for such a change, when they are already successful in the window trade ( or so it says in their workbooks)

Why is there no mention in them regarding Varnish, Thomson, patents, possible expansion or reshuffle?

Everything points to Mellish being a close partner, and initial manufacturer of the Thomson/Varnish glassware, with Powells jumping on at a later date, maybe when silver nitrate made it safer, or just before.

I think Flying free reiterated something I mentioned in an earlier thread, that silvered glass was in production from an earlier date.
Why were Powells not involved with the previous product?

There are too many indications for Mellish and not enough for Powells.




Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #74 on: October 17, 2017, 10:43:02 PM »
Do you have a reference source that Mellish was a manufacturer?

Possibly what might be plausible is that Powell's blew the glass and then Mellish added the silver nitrate after cutting the glass then plugged it.

But it falls under Varnish and Thomson's individual patent's because they were the original patentees of the process.  Mellish just improved it ... somehow?

What's also plausible is that Tallis is wrong and Powell's didn't blow that double walled glass.  Maybe it was blown in . elsewhere and finished with the above process by Mellish?


Can you provide a link to the patent information or write it out in full at all?  Is that possible please?

Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #75 on: October 17, 2017, 10:53:45 PM »
Thanks, Andrew, for the additional information / thoughts.

Could you please give:
a) details of the reference material that you used
b) indication of any of the text that is a direct quote
c) indications of text that is your own thoughts and conclusions.

This will enable all readers and contributors to be able to crosscheck details and will also ensure that the various contributors to the thread do not unnecessarily delve into the the same details and simply repeat what you have found.
KevinH

Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #76 on: October 18, 2017, 04:36:52 AM »
More info on the patents ...

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 shows :
(but it includes later dates as well)

"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"


and

"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"


Also, the 1852 edition of the book gives:

"Frederick Hall Thomson, of Berners street, of the County of Middlesex
and George Foord, of Wardour street, of the same County, chemist
For Improvements in Bending and Annealing Glass
September 25, 1851"


The entry above does actually give the name as "Hall", rather than "Hale".
F H Thomson does seem to have been a busy entrepreneur.

In both of those editions no additional information is given for Mr Varnish or Mr Mellish, and there is no information at all for W. Lund.

I will check more editions of the book later.
KevinH

Offline drewfind

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #77 on: October 18, 2017, 07:58:10 AM »
Hi Kevin

You have the repertory info, as in your last message.
Just to add, I did look for F.H.Thomson in other areas of the exhibit, and in the precious metals section I came across F.H.Thompson, it might be the same chap.

Powells work order books and info can be found in the archives of the V&A

The list for exhibitors in google books, page 127 i think. It's alphabetical anyway.

I have looked at advertising for James Powell, circa 1852. At the very bottom is a sub headline which reads

"The company will be glad to furnish illustrations of their glassware, to make special designs in accordance with their clients wishes, or to match any patterns that may be submitted"

They had pictures of other wares as is evidenced in their adverts, why is there no decorative catalogue already available if they had been working with Thomson and Varnish since the patent of 1849, or 1850 when I should think production started in earnest.

I still maintain that the silvered glass that has a Thomson or Varnish seal, were the first samples, trials, show pieces made by and with Mellish.

Some were for Thomson and some for Varnish, and the Mellish patent 1851, attached to the pair of inventors, clearly shows he has much experience working with glass, and with the process of silvering glass.
Powells are not associated to any patent regarding silvered glass as far as I can find, therefore, were not set up for the process at the very start. Inventing things is fine, but you need prototypes, samples, daily communication, intense hours of work.
This is the work of about 2 years, you can't patent something you know nothing about.

As far as it goes for quotes, there are none, but the evidence is building up for the Mellish theory, they actually stack much, much better than the Powell "possibly by, or attributed too" train of thought.

As I said, post 1851 would have been the time Powells would have jumped on the band wagon. Thomson might not have fallen out with Varnish, because he was such a prolific inventor, his other endeavours would have kept him extremely busy, maybe selling his part of the patent to Powells or letting them work under licence.

You said that in 1852 Thomson and Foord submitted a further patent for bending tube and silvering glass, this leads me to believe that he was not one for manufacturing.

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #78 on: October 18, 2017, 08:26:30 AM »
'I still maintain that the silvered glass that has a Thomson or Varnish seal, were the first samples, trials, show pieces made by and with Mellish.'

'Some were for Thomson and some for Varnish, and the Mellish patent 1851, attached to the pair of inventors, clearly shows he has much experience working with glass, and with the process of silvering glass.'


'Powells are not associated to any patent regarding silvered glass as far as I can find, therefore, were not set up for the process at the very start. '
[/u]

drewfind, the difficulty with your wording and phraseology is that these are all assumptions.

Tallis states that the public were familiar with silvered glass in globe forms, before the exhibition of 1851.  So silvered glass had already been produced by 1851.

I am not saying I disagree with some of your train of thought.  But it needs to be more circumspect.  There have been multiple evidences over the years ( including some pieces later exposed by research on the GMB as being from somewhere else), of mis-attribution of various sources of glass, based on peoples assumptions then written as fact at a later date.

My own view is that from what I have read so far, there does not appear to be a second concrete evidence of Powell & sons blowing these double walled silvered glasses. 

The only 'evidence' so far is a piece in Tallis.  Whilst I am suspicious of the wording in Tallis, it could be construed from the way it is written, that Powell and Sons did make some of the double walled glass for the Varnish exhibit.

But it is the only evidence so far.  And it is not written in a conclusive way ( in my opinion).



I have two points:

Was the patent to do with the silvering process only - i.e. not to do with the glass blowing process of making double walled goblets/salts/mustards etc.?

If so, then was this the first example of double walled glass goblets/salts/bowls etc being blown or had it been done before?

I ask question two because
a) blowing a globe leaving a hole where the pontil was snapped off, filling it with silver nitrate solution to silver it internally, then closing the globe with a plug, is a different process to ...
b) blowing a double walled goblet, casing it, cutting a design on it, then filling it with silver nitrate, then plugging it.

i.e. process b) appears to me to be much more difficult to achieve.


m


P.s. I am as guilty of more guilty of confirmation bias as than the next person - research has to start somewhere and with some thoughts.  ;D

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #79 on: October 18, 2017, 09:19:19 AM »
with reference my previous questions -

See also this evidence (photo of item from catalogue attached):

In the Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations 1851
page 124
Item number 16.

'16.  Mellish, T.R. 118 Regent Street, Des. and Prod.- Glass silvered vases; glass globes, mounted on eagles, Atlases, &c. Silvered by the pat. Varnish & Co Berners St.'


Please note, in my opinion the words 'Des. and Prod.' next to Mellish's name  might only refer to Mellish doing the silver nitrating and plugging the pieces.  It might not refer to the actual making of/blowing glass for the double walled vessels.

 

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