The General Electric Company (G.E.C) | Brass Art Nouveau Chandelier | England c.1905
An impressive brass art nouveau chandelier by The Generel Electric Company (G.E.C) the integral shade carriers each supporting an attractive vaseline glass globular lampshade by James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars. England c1905
Provenance: see catalogue photos 1905 MALTON F.4832
Ht. 38cm/15in W.13/5 Dpth.30/12
The General Electric Company (G.E.C)
- GEC had its origins in the G. Binswanger and Company, an electrical goods wholesaler established in London in the 1880s by a German-Jewish immigrant, Gustav Binswanger
- 1887 the company published the first electrical catalogue of its kind. The following year, the company acquired its first factory in Salford, where electric bells, telephones, ceiling roses and switches were manufactured.
- In 1889 the company was expanding rapidly, opening new branches and factories and trading in ‘everything electrical’, a phrase that was to become synonymous with GEC.
- In 1893, it decided to invest in the manufacture of lamps. The company was to lead the way in lamp design, and the burgeoning demand for electric lighting was to make GEC’s fortune.
- In 1902, its first purpose-built factory, the Witton Engineering Works, was opened near Birmingham.
- The company expanded both at home and overseas, with the establishment of agencies in Europe, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and India. It also did substantial trade with South America.
Whitefriars Glass Company, London
James Powell & Sons
In 1834 James Powell, then a 60-year-old London wine merchant and entrepreneur, purchased the Whitefriars Glass Company, a small glass-works off Fleet Street in London.
Powell, and his sons Arthur and Nathanael, were newcomers to glass making, but soon acquired the necessary expertise and specialised in making church stain glass windows.
During the latter part of the c.19th, the firm formed a close association with leading architects and designers. Whitefriars produced the glass that Phillip Webb used in his designs for William Morris
By 1900 production lines of vaseline and opalescent glass-ware, including lampshades, were proving to be extremely successful with clients such as William Arthur Smith Benson using their glass in the design of their lights.
The firm’s name was changed to Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd in 1919