A rare suite of three patent gilt bronze Argand lamps, the bases with heavy lion paw feet and masks of Bacchus, for burning whale oil, by the leading maker of the day, Thomas Messenger.
UK origin c1835
The gilding still with smoke stains of use.
Cast signature to bases ‘Published as The Act Directs, Messenger & Sons, London & Birmingham’.
Height each 53cm
Width central lamp 50 cm
Width side lamps 35cm ea.
All 23cm deep.
The development of the ‘Argand’ lamp by the Swiss physicist, Aimee Argand late in the 18th century was the first improvement on lighting since Roman times. A thick low ignition oil was held in the vase shaped reservoir, descending by gravity to a circular burner and wick, with a draft chimney in the centre multiplying the power of a candle by six, the flask shaped shades by another six. Thomas Jefferson and Mathew Boulton, inventors et al, were early promotors of their light. By 1825 they were the height of fashion, by 1865 with the advent of kerosene oil, their demise was complete.
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