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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Antique English Victorian Three Bottle Tantalus circa 1860"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
it has been skillfully crafted in rosewood with silver plated strap work and elaborately decorated with marquetry decoration of urns, swags and garlands.
There are three hand cut glass decanters with stoppers, a set of four cut glass glasses, a mirrored back, fitted drawers and small compartments probably for storing tobacco. The whole set can be locked and kept safe with a small key. The lock was made by one of the most famous locksmiths of that era - Bramah.
There is also a secret drawer for those who are bored, in there you can find playing cards, domino, dices etc. for all sorts of games.
The box bears a plaque of the retailer: Benetfink & Co London
This tantalus is a true rarity and is a very desirable collector's item.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 31 x Width 37.5 x Depth 28
Dimensions in inches:
Height 12.2 x Width 14.8 x Depth 11.0
Tantalus is a type of liquor decanter in which the bottle stoppers are locked down tightly by a metal bar. This was to prevent the theft of the contents by servants. Like the name suggests, the decanters themselves are visible, drawing temptation while unattainable. A key is required for entry.
The most common types of tantalus holds three bottles or decanters while there are also smaller types housing only two. There are many different forms of tantalus. Often the encasement has metal handles on both sides and ornately carved decor. Crystal and metal versions are also a beautiful option when choosing a tantalus.
Tantalus derived its name from the story of the mythological Greek king, Tantalus. To be tantalized is to be tempted with the unattainable, and the king, condemned to an eternity in Hades, was sorely tested. He was forced to stand forever in water that, when he bent to drink, would recede and to gaze upon foods he could only reach for and never grasp.
Rosewood is a rich warm reddish brown wood that has a distinct grain with dark brown and black outlining. One variety of Rosewood can vary significantly from another even though it is of the same species. These Rosewoods, native of India, South East Asia and Brazil, were dense and awkward to work with. It was renowned for quickly bluntening cutting tools and visibly darkening in colour when over prepared.
The Brazilian species of Rosewood was by far the most beautifully figured and therefore it became the most sought after and rare. This was the wood of choice for the great box makers, David and Thomas Edwards who used it to veneer some of their finest pieces.
Bramah is London's oldest security company. Established at 124 Piccadilly, London in 1784, and today based in Marylebone, London and Romford, Essex.
Bramah made their first lock in 1784 and the patent was awarded in 1787. The designer was Joseph Bramah. Joseph Bramah was a leading inventor of the industrial revolution, patenting over 18 new ideas, including a new valve for the water closet (toilet), the hydraulic pump, a fountain pen, and a fire engine.
Bramah also introduced a beer hand pump for use at the bar, to prevent fluid loss when barmen went downstairs to pour a new jug! Due to the quality of his manufacturing, his name became a by-word amongst British Engineers for engineering excellence and many of his inventions are on display in the Science Museum in London. You can find one of his original toilets still working in Osborne House, Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight.
The Bramah lock was unique and advanced property and valuables protection enormously. Indeed it was 50 years ahead of any Chubb lock and 70 years ahead of Yale. Original Bramah locks are most often found on the highest quality homes and furniture.
Benetfink & Co London - was a large retail business located at 89-90 Cheapside, London, from c1845 to 1907. The firm described themselves as "furnishing ironmongers" and sold a huge range of metalware products for the home. An advertisement from 1852 claimed that Benetfink would furnish an eight-roomed house for £5.
The store also housed an optical department where chandeliers, lamps, optical lanterns, and cameras were for sale. A sports department offered a wide choice of bicycles and sportswear. By the turn of the century Benetfink was selling Kerry and Enfield motorcycles and a range of motor accessories such as jacks, motor watches, and headlights.
In 1907, Benetfink & Co. was taken over by the A. W. Gamage department store.
318 Green Lanes