In the 19th century Birmingham was renowned for its manufacture of metal and glass. 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 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 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 inn 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 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.
The present chandelier bears only marginal differences to the chandelier illustrated in the black and white photograph inset, design no. E2205 (from Osler's records and supplied courtesy of Birmingham City Council Museum Services). An exact copy for the design for the present chandelier does not exist, but design number E2204 is dated November 1905 and E2207 in December of the same year, and so one can assume that this is a fairly accurate means of dating the present chandelier to this period of production.