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Patent Wood Carving Company (1845-1851)

Patent Wood Carving Company

London; wood carvers (fl.1845-51)

The first proprietors of the wood carving works at Ranelagh Road were Messrs. Braithwaite but at some point between May 1843 and September 1845 the works had changed hands and the Patent Wood Carving Company was formed. The company had works at Ranelagh Road, Thames Bank in Pimlico, and offices in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden and later at 444 West Strand.   

Published in The Builder, 6 March 1847, p. 117.

The Company developed a technique for producing ‘carved’ work by means of hot metal dies; i.e., an iron mould was made from a plaster or wooden mould, heated until red-hot, and applied under pressure to a damp piece of wood. The process charred the wood, but according to some observers the result was ‘rather pleasing than otherwise, as it gives the effect of age’.

One of the most widely advertised products was the ‘Glastonbury Chair’, exhibited at the Art Union in 1845, and in 1847 they were said to produce ‘every description of Gothic or Elizabethan Furniture’. Despite an impressive catalogue and substantial press coverage, the company was no longer listed in the London Post Office Directory after 1849. One reason suggested for the Company’s failure was that the dies quickly became worn. The firm did exhibit a carved bracket and screen at the 1851 Great Exhibition 

Sources: DEFM; Allwood, ‘The Patent Wood Carving Company’, Furniture History (1996).

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.