F. & C. OSLER:
In the 19th century Birmingham was celebrated for its manufacture of metal and glass goods. The firm of F. & C. Osler (established in 1807 by Thomas Osler in Broad Street) was a principal manufacturer of light fittings and glass furniture, much of which was exported to India. A London showroom established the firm as a market leader, and it continued to be so throughout the century, with an international reputation for extremely high standards of quality and craftsmanship. The firm was able to make glass fixtures of tremendous, previously unimaginable, scale such as the design for a pair of 16 foot candelabra created for General Ibrahim Pasha, son of Egyptian governor, Muhammed Ali. This commission led to worldwide renown.
The last decades of the century brought with them the availability of electricity for the purpose, amongst others, of lighting (Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison being the first to manufacture electric lamps in 1881). The installation of electricity 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 realize the enormous potential of this new and practical energy source. Osler specifically produced downward hanging designs (as the present example, lot 340, offered here) 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.
BY OSLER, SECOND HALF 19TH CENTURY