EARLY 20th CENTURY LIGHTING ARCHIVE – WELSBACH LIGHT COMPANY

In about 1992, I worked with an attorney settling an estate in Gloucester City, New Jersey. There were three generations of book collections on three floors of a Victorian home. Great books, would have been even better if the first generation collector had not cut the dustjackets of collectible books and laid the panels inside instead of leaving them intact in the barrister bookcases.

But, this family was connected with the Welsbach Light Company in Gloucester, N.J. and Camden. Along with the books I purchased photographs, old catalogues and scrapbooks of lights and gas fixture equipment assembled from about 1911 (a couple work papers dated in 1920s and 1930s). Over twenty pounds of materials, I have had this collection put away only occasionally unboxing it to browse through. BUT it needs to be in the proper lighting historian’s hands for further research or to compile fine illustrated books from the material on the pages of the scrapbooks.

In the first image below you see original photographs, in the top photo are members of the company, and identified on the rear of the photo taken December 14, 1912. Spread out are about 28 photographs, mainly of lighting fixtures and probably the original images later used in catalogues. As originals for catalogs, their value should be at least $5 each.

Then (not illustrated below) I have a few sheets of work papers, a great catalog – ELECTRIC FIGURES, BROOKLYN BRASS & MFG. CO., MARTINSBURG, W. VA.,. Two large Catalogues from CRAIGHEAD & KINTZ COMPANY – 1890-91 Lamps and Oil Fixtures, and an undated ARTISTIC BRONZES… both with much wear and nicely illustrated. And, there is a third CRAIGHEAD in poor condition, but just a few illustrations to utilize could make a purchase of this collection worthwhile. Even with the condition, the three catalogues easily have a value of $125 to $150.

Finally are two massive scrapbooks with clippings of interest and related lamp advertisements, descriptions, articles, and an occasional booklet or catalogue laid in.

First Scrapbook – dated April 1901, by the original owner, and first generation of the estate I bought, Measures about 9 1/2 by about 12 1/4 inches. On second page he wrote – Metal Work, April 1, 1909, to Dec. 31, 1910. Maybe 80 sheets (160 packed pages)? Hard to count since boards detached, and pages of scrapbook are fragile newsprint – BUT clippings nice and many, many, I am probably the first one going through these in 100 years.

Second Scrapbook – dated by the same owner, 1911, probably when album started and measuring 9 by 15 inches with at least 90 sheets (thus 180 pages) packed with clippings and great illustrations.

I do not believe any lighting historian will be sorry to own this for research, and possibly utilize the illustrations in some way.

PRICE for the Entire Collection – $495
Shipping (heavy) – $20
Ordering Information

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