Joseph Cooke-style Clanny Miners' Lamp By C.e.c For Sale
Cooke-type Clanny Lamp by C.E.C
William Reid Clanny (1770 – 1850) was born in Bangor, County Down and subsequently trained as a physician in Edinburgh. Although practising as a doctor for some 45 years, during this time he became interested in the safe lighting of the Sunderland coal mines near where he worked. By 1813 he had developed his first Clanny safety lamp. His idea was to force air in and out of the lamp with bellows and he wrote a paper formally describing this lamp, which was delivered to the Royal Society in May 1813. The lamp proved unsatisfactory as the flame was both unsteady and unreliable, and the user required an assistant to work the bellows to provide air for the flame to burn. Although his invention never came into general use, Dr Clanny is justified in claiming to be the inventor of the first safety lamp.
Following a serious explosion in Durham, the Sunderland Society for the Prevention of Accidents in Mines had invited the eminent scientist Sir Humphrey Davy to study the problem of firedamp explosions, and to try to devise a safe means of lighting coal mines. By 1815 the now famous Davy lamp had been made. It was an oil lamp with the flame completely enclosed within a single layer of wire gauze. Davy’s invention has stood the test of time and has been the means of saving many lives. Also in 1815, George Stephenson (father of Robert) had, by trial and error, produced a similar lamp, giving rise to ‘bad blood’ between him and Davy, with the ‘uneducated’ Stephenson being accused of stealing Davy’s ideas.
Davy's gauze having provided the safety element, though also reducing the candle power, Clanny had set himself the task of maintaining safety whilst increasing the candle power. He did this by introducing a glass cylinder, but no gauze, round the flame, the gauze continuing from the top of the glass. Clanny won medals in 1816–17 for his invention from the Royal Society of Arts. His lamp and other improvements were, after some initial disputes, eventually recognized for their true worth by his contemporaries, including northern coal owners who presented him with a piece of silverware, and George Stephenson who acknowledged his debt to Clanny's researches. Clanny continued to work on improvements to his original lamp, producing altogether six types, the last two of which, produced between 1839 and 1842, are the ones generally spoken of as Clanny lamps.
This lamp is appears identical in most respects to the Clanny lamps produced by the Birmingham company Joseph Cooke & Co at their Midland Davy Lamp Works from c.1854, as illustrated in their 1876 advertisement in Grace’s Guide. The lamp was actually produced by the Commercial Engineering Company, and bears their trademark (CEC within a triangle). The Commercial Engineering Company purchased Joseph Cooke & Co. in 1918. With its characteristically arched cover (or saddle), the lamp stands 10⅝” [27cms] tall to the top of the hook ring. The base has a diameter of 3½” [9cms]. The top is supported by three pillars, surrounding the double iron gauze (height ~5” or ~12.5cms). Five pillars surround the glass enclosing the round wick and wick adjuster. The seals are all present and sound. The rim lock works, but there is no key. Individual dismantled parts all bear an impressed number 3. (Please read the above in conjunction with the photographs.)
The lamp is in excellent condition; there appears to be nothing obviously wrong with it. It has previously been lacquered, but much of this seems to have worn away as a result of cleaning by previous owners. A little time and trouble taken to remove the remaining lacquer, polish and re-lacquer, will return the lamp to pristine condition, and a valuable addition to any collection.
Superb Addition to any Lamp Collection
This item has been shown 0 times.