In the 19th century Birmingham was renowned for its manufacture of metal and glass goods. The firm of F & C Osler (established in 1807 by Thomas Osler) was a principal manufacturer of light fittings and glass furniture, much of which was exported to the Indian sub-continent. A London showroom soon established the firm as a market leader, and it continued to be so throughout the century and indeed well into the 20th century, with an international reputation for extremely high standards of quality and craftmanship.
The last decades of the century brought with them the availability of electricity for purposes of lighting (Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison being the first to manufacture electric lamps in 1881). The installation of electricty and the first purpose-made fittings were extremely expensive, however, Osler's wealthy clientele were keen to employ this latest technology, and the firm was quick to realise the enormous potential of this new and practical energy source. Osler specifically produced downward hanging designs appropriate to the new technology, with the first fittings being available on the market only two or three years after Joseph Swan's and Thomas Edison's first examples.