The Manhattan Brass Company
Manhattan Brass Double Post Student Lamp
began in 1865 in New York City. It is notable because it was the only brass manufactory prior to 1900 that was established without a direct connection to the brass mills of Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley. While it had no ties to the Conn. makers, Manhattan Brass did choose to follow the pricing guidelines established by the Conn. firms. Manhattan Brass did not enter the market as a producer or roller of brass for market, rather it produced what it needed for the remanufacture of it's own wares. Actually, the company often found itself purchasing sheet brass from other firms to satisfy it's demand.
From an 1884 company billhead
Lantern thumbwheel marked M.B.Co., N.Y. Pat. Apr. 30, 83. Top of the lantern is stamped Pat'd Dec. 24, 1867
, courtesy of David Broughton
, "Manhattan Brass Company, Sheet Brass, Wire & Tube Works, Manufacturers - Lamps and Lamp Goods, office and works, 1st Avenue 27th to 28th Streets, New York." The company is probably most recognized for it's production of student lamps. Manhattan Brass manufactured quality brass bicycle lamps and flat-wick burners as well. Their line of Perfection Student lamps consisted of a variety of sizes (utilizing seven and ten inch shades) in single and double configurations, wall-mounted lamps, and more. Manhattan Brass Company student lamps are readily identified by their spiral burner tube - one actually twists the burner to raise or lower the wick.
The Manhattan Brass Company was assigned at least thirty-nine lighting-related patents between January 14, 1879 and November 15, 1910. See the patent table below for details. Noteworthy inventors include Thomas Hipwell, assignor of nineteen patents, and James H. White, assignor of twelve patents to Manhattan Brass. T. Hipwell and J.H. White even collaborated on at least one patent. The student lamp burners are often marked MANHATTAN BRASS CO., as seen above. The thumb wheels of the flat wick burners may carry the full name, as in the example below, or the initials - M.B. Co. N.Y.
In May, 1926
Manhattan Brass Single 10" Student Lamp
adorned with twisted wire rope decoration.
, the Manhattan Brass Company sold its plant and went into voluntary liquidation.
The mill was dismantled and the buildings removed. For many years this company had shown large profits, but the increasingly high price of real estate in New York City and the amount of direct competition, forced this action.
|Patents assigned to Manhattan Brass between Jan. 14, 1879 and Nov. 15, 1910|
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|D = Design Patent, RE = Reissue of an earlier Patent|
To view any of the above patents, enter the number in the box below and select Query USPTO Database. This will take you to the specific patent images on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database. Learn more about the USPTO here.
- Lathrop, William G. The Brass Industry in the United States. New Haven, CT: The Wilson H. Lee Company, 1926.