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Author Topic: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849  (Read 1685 times)

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Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #90 on: October 18, 2017, 02:57:53 PM »
Thanks Kev

Christine - ok I think I've got the plot,

There was a case in April 1852 to convict Douglas who pleaded guilty - I've only just found this and not read it yet.
Click here to view

'382. THOMAS ROBERT MELLISH and JAMES DOUGLAS . feloniously forging and uttering a receipt for the payment of 1l. 15s. 4d.; with intent to defraud: to which
DOUGLAS pleaded GUILTY .'



Douglas at the end of that case, appears to be trying to implicate Mellish:

'FRANCIS HAYES (policemen, E 82). I was at Marlborough-street police-court when Douglas was present after his examination—Mellish was sitting on a bench with his wife, crying—Douglas was standing by my side, and he said to me, "Mellish looks devilish ill; does be not?"—I said, "Yes; he looks very ill"—he said, "Ah, he thinks to put it all upon me, but he is as much in the mud as I am in the mire"—I do not know where sergeant Smith was at that time—we were both in Court, attending and keeping the witnesses together—I had not heard any statement made by Douglas upon any former occasion.
MELLISH— NOT GUILTY .'


I presume the 10th May case was about Mellish and he was found not guilty then.

Did I do him a disservice  :o

Thomson must have felt robbed.

m

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #91 on: October 18, 2017, 03:06:31 PM »
This info is from the court case April 1852:

1)  Varnish says that he ceased to be Mr Thomson's partner from 17th May 1851
Click here to view

See case 382.

quote:
'EDWARD VARNISH . I live at Kensington. I was in partnership with Mr. Thomson—I ceased to be so about 17th May last—I become his partner just after Mr. Mellish came into the employment ...'




2) Earlier on in that case 382.
Thomson says this when talking about employing Mellish with reference Powell's making the glass:

'...
he was to go to Mr. Powell's glass works to superintend the preparation of the glass for silvering—that continued all the time he was in my service—every evening, at 8 o'clock, he was supposed to go down there to superintend the workmen—that would take him an hour, or an hour and a half—I have been there myself occasionally—I do not know how long it would take him; as soon as the pattern is made, I suppose the work is done—I suppose there might be twenty or thirty workmen under him, and sometimes, I believe, as many as forty—the arrangement with me was, that he was to relinquish his own business in Great Portland-street when he came to me—how far he carried that out I never understood—he had the general superintendence of the workmen on the premises, as well as the out-door workmen—after some time I established a shop in Regent-street for the sale of these articles—it was arranged that Mrs. Mellish should go there, with a relative of hers to assist, or a person whom she knew—it was one of the stipulations that Mellish should go and live there—it was principally at his suggestion that the shop was taken—it was carried on, I think, in Mrs. Mellish's name; Mr. Varnish principally arranged that—I had nothing to do with the taking of it, but I did not object to it.'




3) I'm out for the next few days but will try and draw together a 'family tree' of events (unless someone else wants to have a go), and then photograph it to upload on here,using the court cases as information of who worked with who and when they left etc.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #92 on: October 18, 2017, 03:46:56 PM »
This from 5th April 1852 case

Varnish says:

'Q. Do you know the cause of Mellish leaving? did he leave of his own accord, or was he dismissed?
Varnish speaking here:
A. Well, I think the notice came from him to leave; I have no doubt about it—Douglas remained in the service.
COURT.
 Q. Can you tell when it was Mellish left?
A. It would be about a fortnight before I left, before I agreed to leave rather; that was about the 3rd, 4th, or 5th of May.'

That would have refered to May 1851.  So Varnish is saying he 'agreed to leave' in May 1851.

So by the time of the Great Exhibition Varnish and Thomson were no longer in a venture together?





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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #93 on: October 18, 2017, 05:03:16 PM »
and this will be something like the Lund inkwells to which Thomson was referring:
Click here to virew

However, this inkwell has a patent plug with W Lund on it as does another inkwell in double walled silvered glass found online.

I wonder why Thomson allowed Lund to use his patented double walled glass and silvering process and put his own name on the plug.

The V&A seem to suggest it might be because Lund may be patented a part of the inkwell:

'Materials & Making
The process of making double-walled silvered glass was patented by Edward Varnish and Frederick Hale Thompson in 1849. A number of glassworks, such as that of James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, London, made the blanks. A vase or, as in this case, an inkholder shape, was formed, with the glass-blower stopping short of opening out the mouth. Instead, the top of the vase, still sealed as a bubble shape, was reheated and 'dropped' inwards to form a double-walled interior. This plain, undecorated object was then supplied to a retailer or dealer such as Lund, where it was filled between the walls from the foot end with a solution of silver nitrate and glucose (in the form of grape juice). The final stage was to seal the hole in the foot with a metal disc, in this example marked for Lund, who may have patented some further detail of the decoration or mount.'


Question:

How long did Thomson's first patent last?

m

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #94 on: October 18, 2017, 05:34:25 PM »
Please see this article in
 Glass Shards - Newsletter of the National American Glass Club - Spring 2001 edition
http://www.glassclub.org/shardsspring2001.pdf

Page 4

'...
According to Gay LeCleire Taylor, museum curator (my words - she was curator of the Museum of American Glass it appears from the article) "silvered glass," often incorrectly called "Mercury Glass", was popular during the mid 19th century.  This mirrored glass was first produced in Bohemia, and then England. Frederick Hale Thomson and Edward Varnish ...'


There is no reference source for this statement unfortunately.  Obviously this is an old source dating to 2001.  However, so far I have not been able to find a reference to Bohemia producing this glass earlier than Hale Thomson and Varnish in my one and only book.

Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #95 on: October 18, 2017, 06:53:03 PM »
Three pdfs of the three court cases are available on request.

Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #96 on: October 18, 2017, 07:19:05 PM »
Thanks Christine, my copies have arrived.
KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #97 on: October 18, 2017, 09:58:19 PM »
ok, potentially an interesting new piece of information here as well:

The Spectator reported the court case from 1851
in their issue 6 December 1851:
http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/6th-december-1851/2/alttrofolto

'At the Criminal Court, on Friday, Thomas Robert Mellish and James Douglas were convicted of defrauding the Patent Glass-silvering Company, of which they were servants, by conspiring to make false entries in the books. Sentence of transportation against each ; Mellish ten years, Douglas seven.'

What's interesting about this report is that they used the company name of  the 'Patent Glass-silvering Company'.





Just a further note because I'm not sure I understand these court cases.  Is it possible that 1851 case was the big/main case against both Mellish and Douglas and on which they were both sent down, but then subsequent to that there were further cases brought against them for specific money embezzling incidents?

m

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #98 on: October 18, 2017, 10:23:33 PM »
So the million dollar questions have to be:


1) Was Mr F. H. Thomson still commissioning double walled glass items to be made, so that he could silver it and have it cut with patterns and then apply a plug with his name and Patent impressed on the plug, after he and Varnish parted company (apparently May 1851), and after Mr Mellish left the company and then was shortly later sent to prison?
(there is some indication in the wording of one of the court cases that he was because Mr Thomson talks about himself (Mr Thomson) doing the designing for the patterns of the cut glass. And he talked at the beginning of the case about the fact that he himself did the silvering before Mellish joined.



2) Was Mr Varnish still commissioning glass to be made after he and Mr F. H. Thomson parted company in apparently May 1851?  and if so, how was he getting it cut and silvered if Mr Thomson did the silvering and used his (Mr Thomson's)  company workers to do the cutting and he himself (Mr Thomson) designed the patterns




3) If they both (Thomson and also Varnish) were still commissioning double walled glass after they parted company, was Powell and Sons still making silvered double walled glass for Mr F. H. Thomson and separately for Mr Varnish after they parted company in apparently May 1851?

Or was it being made by other companies?


Varnish was at pains to state during the court cases that the making of glass, the silvering process, the cutting etc was absolutely nothing to do with him and that he did not have any idea about glass or the processes involved.  He was at pains to point out that he was the 'commercial' arm of the company involved in meeting merchants etc.


Basically I am wondering if pieces with Varnish's Patent plug stopped being made after May 1851?

I also wonder if pieces with Mr F. H. Thomson plugs continued to be made after May 1851, since he seems to have been the one with the money, the cutting works, the workers to do so and the ability to apply the silver nitrate himself.?



Note:-

The Corning had an exhibition in 2007 called the Curiosities of Glassmaking.
They produced a pdf checklist of the items in the exhibition. Click here to view

On page 18 Under the title 'Silvered Glass and Dichroic Glass' they list 1 item for Thomson and 3 for Varnish, stating they were all made c. 1850-1860 and all made by James Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd:

Quote:

'Footed Tumbler
England, London, James Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd. for Hale
Thomson,
about 1850–1860
Mold-blown glass, silvered, engraved
66.2.9, gift of Mr. Jerome Strauss
Silvered glass was commonly made with solutions of silver nitrate combined with some form of glucose. The silvering liquid was poured into the space between the walls of the glass vessel through a hole in the bottom, and it adhered to the glass.


Cased Goblet
England, London, James Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd. for E. Varnish
and Company, about 1850–1860
Blown and cased glass, silvered, cut
79.2.169, bequest of Jerome Strauss
In this goblet, the outer layer of blue glass has been cut away to reveal the silvered glass beneath.


Pair of Cased Vases
England, London, James Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd. for E. Varnish
and Company, about 1850–1860
Blown and cased glass, silvered, cut
2006.2.6, gift of Freeman T. Freeman


Cased Vase
England, London, James Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd. for E. Varnish
and Company, about 1850–1860
Blown and cased glass, silvered
60.2.43'

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #99 on: October 18, 2017, 11:26:39 PM »
From the 25th November 1851 court case
Varnish was under examination and says they went to Paris and bought glass from Paris.  He also says they patented the 'double hollow' work in France:

'I went to Paris two or three times with Mellish; the last time was just before Christmas last (my words - this would have been Christmas 1850) —we went from Brussels to Paris, and were absent a week—the second time was April or May 1850; we were absent rather less than a week, because we were never absent on Sunday—the other time was in the year before ( my words - this would have been in 1849), we went to make purchases of glass—I am not quite positive, but I think we went three times; we went to the first establishments in Paris—purchases of glass abroad were very small in comparison of purchases of Messrs. Powell—I did not transact the business with Messrs. Powell, they sent in their accounts and were always paid by check of the firm—I went to France the first time to take out a patent there for the double hollow work—I attended at the police-office on two examinations; there was a third—I do not think I was at the first—I do not think I was there when Mellish was charged the first time—I was not there when he was allowed to go away on his own recognizances alone.'

 

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