Posts Tagged ‘lighting’

A candle snuffer

February 23, 2016

Contrary to popular belief, candle snuffers were not always for extinguishing the flame of a candle. Back in the 19th century wicks did not burn as they do now. They just got longer and longer which resulted in all sorts of problems. The candle got smoky and wax could melt faster than it burned, causing run off. This made a mess but was also waste and so was to be avoided. Candle snuffers were for removing excess wick.

This one is at Market Lavington Museum.

This 19th century candle snuffer belonged to the Hiscock family

This 19th century candle snuffer belonged to the Hiscock family

It is always good when we have the identity of the original users and in this case the snuffer belonged to the Hiscock family of Market Lavington High Street.

This is a view down onto the implement which has three little legs to act as a stand. The basic format is of a pair of scissors with an attached box. The idea was that you trimmed the wick and the piece cut off (the snuff) fell into the box, rather than onto a hearth rug, setting fire to it.

The pointed end could be used to stab fallen bits of wick, including any in the molten wax at the top of the candle.

This snuffer is thought to be late 19th century.


The Candle Lantern

November 4, 2014

These days we are 100% used to having light at the flick of a switch. Market Lavington has had mains electricity for long enough that the days before electric light are now before living memory here. More remote places in Britain were still being connected, for the first time, much more recently and there are still many remote places that do not have the supply.

And that meant other forms of lighting. For centuries, the simple light was the candle but can you imagine the night time difficulties. Let’s imagine you need to get up to use the loo. In the pitch black you need to find candle and a method of lighting it. You have to struggle downstairs and out into the garden (for you had a privy at the bottom of your patch). You probably hoped for a clear sky and a moon to help you see your way for if it was dark, wild and windy your candle would get blown out.

No wonder people used the potty under the bed – the ‘gazunda’.

But even so a candle in a glass case was still needed on occasion and that’s what we are looking at today.

Victorian candle lantern at Market Lavington Museum

Victorian candle lantern at Market Lavington Museum

We have this rather elegant lantern hanging above the range in our kitchen. Sadly, as the photo shows, one of its glasses is cracked, but that hardly mattered for it still gave illumination and the candle flame was still protected from the ravages of the weather.

This item is Victorian – nineteenth century and came from a White Street house. Similar items could have been found in most households.

The observant will notice that, as well as having the handle for carrying or hanging the lamp, the base has four feet formed in it. This lantern was equally adept at standing on a surface.

What a delightful lamp it is.


A paraffin lamp

January 15, 2013

Electricity came to Market Lavington at quite an early date. The wires arrived in 1927 so for many, that was the end of candles and other lamps. They were set aside for emergencies and also, no doubt, for trips to the outside lavatory. We have several paraffin and other lamps at the museum. Here is one of them.

Paraffin lamp from about 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

Paraffin lamp from about 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

There is a suggestion that this lamp could be made in Ireland. It is made of copper and brass with a glass chimney. It is believed to date from about 1900.

You can see a range of lamps in the museum. Why not visit us during 2013?

Trimming the wick

July 20, 2012

Those of us brought up in the world of instant electricity would have found it hard to cope when lighting was provided by the flame of oil lamp or candle.

The candle, being portable was used to light the way to bed. But early candles had wicks which did not burn. As the candle wax burned down a long length of wick was left, gently smoking away to fill a room with fumes.

It’s time for the wick trimmer.

19th century candle wick trimmer at Market Lavington Museum

These devices – rather like scissors with a box, trimmed the wick and caught the still hot end of wick in the box. It was vital that a glowing ember didn’t join other debris, possibly under the floorboards. A fire could have started.

Our cast iron wick trimmer is believed to date from the early nineteenth century.

Another new cabinet takes shape

February 2, 2011

It’s lovely, the way the museums in Wiltshire help one another. Our latest new cabinet at Market Lavington isn’t new at all. It was given to us by our friends at the museum in Mere. At Mere, they had called this cabinet ‘The Salisbury Cabinet’ because they, in their turn, had received it from the Salisbury museum. It came as a godsend to us, for one of our older, wooden cabinets had a dose of woodworm and had to go.

A problem provided us with the opportunity to revamp some of our displays and these are now taking shape in the entrance room downstairs.

New cabinet in the entrance area of Market Lavington Museum

The top shelf has head related items. These include a bowler hatbox and a helmet box, hatpins and hair tidy boxes. There are hairgrips and adverts for hair products.

The next shelf features school items. Prominent is the old school bell, which was once atop the Old School on Church Street, but there are other items too, including donated prize cups, books, a slate and statements of account.

The second shelf up is devoted to lighting and has oil lamps and candle lamps – both domestic and vehicular. There is also memorabilia from Market Lavington’s very own gas works.

The bottom shelf is for toys. At the moment there are a couple of Victorian home made boats and an Edwardian xylophone but more will be added to this area.

When the museum opens in May visitors will see this cabinet as they enter the building.

A Bread Cart Carriage Lamp

November 25, 2010

In times past, lighting was very different from what we are used to today. Even in fairly rural Market Lavington and Easterton we expect street lamps and we expect vehicles moving at night to be clearly visible and to deliver enough light for drivers to see everything.

In the days of the horse drawn bread cart night was a much darker time (and what glorious night skies people would have seen as a result). When the Notton family had the bakery business (based between the present Post Office and the Co-op) a couple of candle lamps on the cart were all they used for illumination. Of course, the speed they went was probably that of a walking horse, so poor light would not have been too dangerous.

One of the Notton’s lamps has found its way to Market Lavington Museum.

Carriage lamp from the Notton's bread cart believed to date from about 1880

At the time of the 1851 census, Thomas Notton was a baker and glover on High Street, Market Lavington. His son, Richard, born in 1827 in Market Lavington was running the business in 1861.

By 1871 Catharine Notton, widow of Richard was a baker on High Street, Market Lavington. It must have been hard coping with the business and a young family.

In 1881 Catharine, still only 60, was running the business with two sons who were adult and bakers by then.

One of these sons, Alfred was the baker in 1891, but mother Catharine was still there.

In 1901, the business was in the hands of Edward Notton, his wife, Helen and five children. Edward was described on the census as a baker and corn factor.

Edward was still a Baker in 1911. In fact Edward remained a villager until his death in 1941. He is buried in the churchyard.

After a brief look at the Notton family, back to the lamp, which we believe, dates from around 1880.