Sugg & Co
1837 - 1969
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This section is devoted to the collectors and collections - aimed at William Sugg products or connections - but also open to related items which are historically interesting and/or important. Many collectors hold products sourced from a wide range of manufacturers and sometimes this will help us all to understand the development of a particular product. Books literature and general publications have been separated into their own section under 'Publications' and are frequently a resource for many of the product sections. Specific museum collections are listed in the 'Contacts' section.
Unfortunately, like the rest of us, collectors have only one lifetime! A common problem, therefore, for all 'private' collectors is what, eventually, to do with the collection! It is such a personal enthusiasm that even many of the closest family members would not know what to do with the collection if they were to be left with it - and the horror of the skip looms large. Some of the private collectors in this section hold nationally or internationally important collections which are not likely to be bettered by any world class museum. I would like to propose that any collector who wishes to review his options can provide a contact point through this website to allow any private person or public body to consider some, part, or all of their collection for purchase, exchange, gift or even promotion to a more significant status, to ensure that often a lifetime's diligent collection never goes to waste.
In order to kick start this
section I have been given permission to show a number of pictures of
products from the collection of Ara Kebapcioglu - everyone calls him
Ara! He is the proprietor of a wonderful little shop in Paris
called Lumiere de l'Oeil located at 4, rue Flatters, 75005, Paris.
As the name of the shop translates to "Light of the Eye" you can imagine
that this is a super specialist lighting shop carrying lots of gas lamps
many of which are 'in gas' as they say. If you are interested in
interior gas lighting this shop is a must!
Many of you
will be relieved to know that Ara speaks many languages fluently,
including English of course!
As you might suspect he has a fantastic website which is also listed in
the 'Contacts' section.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to a collector who lives in Bristol. He was born in the town although he has a Scots background and he remembers his mother lighting the gas and being sufficiently frightened but also intrigued by the 'pop' of the ignition that he would watch from behind the door through the crack by the hinge! When he moved back to the house he now occupies he was walking past an antique shop and spotted a lovely wall bracket with a nice piece of green glass. On a whim, he went in and bought it! The rest is history and he now has 31 fixtures 'in gas'. He has given me permission to show you the selection below.
I am hoping to get some pictures of the lamps actually running as it adds a lot to the story.
And now, quite possibly the most comprehensive collection of (particularly interior) gas lighting and associated items in the UK! Not only that but also a major collector of early electric lamps (light bulbs to many of us) and several other items that generally lie outside the remit of this website!
Ray Tye has been collecting for many years. He is now retired but held the enviable post of archivist to the Phoenix Insurance Company, providing him with a huge resource of information. Only a few years ago he moved his whole collection from one address to another - no mean feat even if the items had not been installed - and he is now threatening to move again! Each move has been accompanied by a small reduction in the collection. On the last occasion he decided his collection of gas street lanterns was simply too large to re-house and had to find new homes for them. There are many Sugg items but the beauty of a general collection is the pure comparison that can be seen across the whole range.
These pictures were taken during a visit in April 2005 and Ray tells me that he has sold a few items and that duplicates and the less important items are available.
Whilst some collectors concentrate on one
single item and others on a specific sector, Ray Tye has both related
and un-related collections. His collection of electric lamps
(bulbs) is quite possibly the most important collection of its type.
He has many duplicates and even several hundred traditional carbon
filament type lamps which he wishes to sell. If anyone is
interested in learning more specifically about these items, Ray can be
firstname.lastname@example.org (new email address 2011) Ray and his
collection of light bulbs were mentioned in an interesting article in
The Guardian on collecting light bulbs which can be read at:
Maurice Wilkinson's Sheffield Hotel which only quite recently closed to guests, is a unique illustration of one mans' enthusiasm for gas lighting. The hotel was formed from two adjacent houses and, now that one is to be sold, I took the opportunity in June 2008 to visit Maurice and photograph the fixtures before they are removed prior to sale. Maurice believes that if the fixtures were to be left in-situ any new owner would simply scrap them whilst 'modernising' the house so he would rather pass them on to another gas lighting enthusiast than lose what is fast becoming a unique facility. I am sure you will agree that he is right!
Collectors are also restorers as beautifully illustrated in the following pictures of his 2 lt Rochester provided by Dieter Bruening of Essen. Anybody who has tried to restore either the Littleton or the Rochester will know that they were never really intended to be dismantled, especially the later ones that use diecast aluminium rings like the one shown bottom right. Most copper lanterns use brass screws in their assembly so this is what was used to hold the body parts to the ring. Fine when the ring was brass but the corrosion that occurs between aluminium and brass often makes it impossible to remove the screws without cutting off the heads and drilling out and re-tapping the thread. Doubtless the early brass rings were replaced by aluminium for economy - but you try taking one apart! Well done Dieter!
The Littleton below belongs to David Sandell and is also shown larger in the Rochester & Littleton section with a fuller description
Brian Pocock is an enthusiastic collector of gas lamps of all sorts, the majority of which are Sugg but his engineering talents have been put to work on adaptations such as using American soft mantles in place of the now very expensive Indian hard mantles. Brian lives in Cornwall and makes regular visits to the USA where his wife has a practice and retains a house which has also gained some gas lighting. This is a selection of his projects:-
Brian first contacted me having obtained a 'Back Lamp' with the label Murray & Co., Glasgow, which had a gas burner that had been butchered to make into an electric fixture. He wanted to fit it with a replacement gas burner for LPG so I recommended a 2lt burner from the Sugg Lighting Victoria Back Lamp. The result was excellent as you can see below:-
The Windsor below is an original Suspension or Cradle model with large 'oak leaves' or 'ears'. It has a nice porcelain reflector and Brian has fitted an upright burner with time clock. His non original suspension may have to be replaced as the wind had caused mantle breakage through excessive movement!
Below is a nice square section tube swivel wall bracket and on the right is the view of the three burners of the 'Regent' lamp which predates the superheater of the Rochester & Littleton lamps.(qv)
Below is a refurbished 1 lt Littleton with pilot and an 'upright' burner mounted as a table lamp
Three more 'table lamps' below. Interesting temporary application of a double swivel wall bracket and in the centre a nice support for a Sugg 'Elite' burner.
Proper application, below, of the double swivel wall bracket with upright mantle and a swivel wall bracket with lever cock and chains and permanent pilot.
Sugg 1548 cast aluminium 'Indoor Back Lamp', below with another 'table lamp' and 'the summerhouse with gas lighting.
Welsbach 'Kern' gas fire and a closer view of the lit Sugg Bon Marche lamp with non original glass lowered a little, nicely demonstrating the reflector effect particularly suited to high ceilings, producing a lovely soft light.
Brian's collection currently includes from Sugg, 4 Littletons, Surbiton, Westminster, 6 Bon Marche, Elite, 1548 Back Lamp,
Windsor suspension, Regent, 6 lt Rochester. Several non Sugg and
mongrels AND as he says
Oil Hand Lamps by William Sugg
There is one section that should perhaps be included within 'Collectors' but at present has its own section. Railway hand lamps are currently included under 'Lighting' as 'Oil Hand Lamps' so if that's your interest see if there is anything you can add, others have already!
If anyone has any suggestions, wishes to be included in this section, or to make any proposals related to this section, please send an email in the first case to email@example.com