The Rochester Kerosene Burner Company
Henry E. Shaffer's Perfection Two Cone Burner
Marked: PAT'D AUG 22, 1871 AUG 10, 1886
was founded by Henry E. Shaffer, in, as you may have guessed, Rochester, New York. Henry E. Shaffer was born 1824. He married Lydia Morse, who was born 1827. Henry E. Shaffer and Lydia Morse had two children: William H. Shaffer, who was born in 1852 and Lorrie Shaffer who was born 1856. Lydia died when she was 57 years of age on February 19, 1885 in Rochester, New York. Henry passed away on March 8, 1913 in Rochester, New York, at 88 years of age. 1
Henry E. Shaffer was a prominent figure in the Rochester fruit jar trade. As early as 1869 he was listed in the Rochester City Directory as a manufacturer of fruit jars.2 In the 1866-1871 city directories, William S. Thompson was listed as an importer and dealer in glass, crockery & china, kerosene lamps and oil. His address was 51 State Street. In 1869, The Henry E. Shaffer & Co. was listed at the same address with Thompson as an associate. An advertisement in the May 3, 1869 edition of the Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser for Henry E. Shaffer & Co. lists the firm as selling Wilcox, Hero, Gem and other fruit jars, with an office at Wm. S. Thompson's Crockery Store, 51 State Street.3 In 1872 and 1873 the city directory lists Shaffer as selling fruit jars.4
Henry Shaffer's first
|Advert. for H.E. Shaffer & Co. showing THE QUEEN
fruit jar from the 1871 Rochester City Directory
fruit jar patent (of which I am aware) was no. 88,296 and dated March 30, 1869. This patent was assigned to himself and William S. Thompson, his partner, noted above. On August 31st of the same year, Shaffer obtained a patent on a fruit jar which has become known as the CHAMPION among collectors. It is believed that Shaffer's jars were manufactured by the Lockport Glass Works, Lockport, New York, or possibly by the Rochester Glass Works, Rochester, New York. W.S. Thompson also received a patent for an improvement to jar closures, no. 94,452, on the same day.5
The KING fruit jar
|Henry E. Shaffer's "THE KING" Fruit Jar
Pat. No. 96,490 - November 2, 1869
Photo Courtesy of Greg Spurgeon
, right, patented on November 2, 1869 as an improved jar. It has a glass lid and the closure is an iron yoke clamp. Of note among both fruit jar collectors and lighting enthusiasts is that Charles F. Spencer, noted inventor, was a witness to the patent. This patent was reissued on the Fourth of July, 1871. The QUEEN also bears the November 2nd patent date on the jar, but features the lid with a screw band and glass lid patented on December 21, 1869, Shaffer's Design Patent 3,806. Shaffer's CHAMPION jar bears the August 31, 1869 patent date and features the same closure as the KING jar.
On December 12, 1871, Shaffer helped organize The Consolidated Fruit Jar Company
with Lewis R. Boyd, John L. Mason, Stephen R. Pinckney, William S. Carr, and Henry C. Wisner. The firm grew out of an effort to "combine their respective interests and business for their mutual benefit, to bring together all the property used by them in a destructive business rivalry, and to consolidate the same into one organization." The company was incorporated on December 16, 1871.6
The earliest known place of business was as 66 Warren Street, New York City, New York. On May 1, 1872 they moved to 49 Warren Street. During this time, and until ca. 1875, Henry E. Shaffer is listed as the secretary and treasurer of the company.7
, Henry E Shaffer was fully established in the lighting business as
advertisements for his lamp wares appeared in the Crockery and Glass Journal that year.8
The company went through a number of changes in the mid- to late 1880's. These changes are chronicled in the Rochester City Directories9
the period. The 1885 directory has the following listing for Shaffer:
"Shaffer Henry E. lamps, house
724 E. Main".
The only advertisement for the company (reproduced below)
appears in the 1886 directory.
The Rochester Kerosene Burner Company
from the Rochester City Directories, 1886
In that advertisement, H. E. Shaffer, H. E.
Miller and E. Huntington are all listed without titles. The location of the
Company is given as 409 East Main Street and the ad features "Shaffer
the company name was changed from The Rochester
Kerosene Burner Company to Shaffer, Miller & Huntington Burner Mfg.10
The 1887 directory no longer lists the Rochester Kerosene Burner Company. It
has been replaced with a listing for "Shaffer, Miller and Huntington,
kerosene burners, 409 E. Main." There is no advertisement.
Who were Mssrs. Miller and Huntington?|
"As for his partners in 1886, H. E. Miller and E. Huntington, they are H. Edward Miller and Edwin Huntington. Prior to their business partnership with Shaffer, H. Edward Miller is listed in the 1884 directory as a conductor with the New York Central Rail Road and Edwin Huntington appears in the 1880 directory as the head of E. Huntington & Co. Manufacturers of Doors, Sash, Blinds and Mouldings. From 1881 until 1886, and from 1888 on, Huntington is listed with only a home address and no profession. From 1888 on, H. Edward Miller is also listed with only a home address. In 1887, both Miller's and Huntington's personal listings include the Kerosene Burner Co."
--Carol Sandler, Strong Museum, Rochester
listing for "Shaffer, Miller and Huntington" has been dropped and there is
only a listing for "Shaffer Henry E. pres. 409 E. Main, h. 724 do." A short-lived partnership to be sure! According to the Industries of the City of Rochester
, published in 1888, the company, now called The Rochester Burner Company
, is located at 409 East Main Street and occupies one floor and the basement and employs ten men. The officers are listed as: H.E. Shaffer, President; H.F. Peck, Vice-president; E.A. Roworth, Secretary and Treasurer.11
Shaffer's 1888 patent is assigned to the Rochester Burner Company. This
directory listing continues until at least 1890. The 1891 and 1892 issues
were not available for review. The 1893 directory lists "Shaffer Henry E.
house 6 College Avenue." Henry Shaffer's three patents obtained during 1895
and 1896 are assigned to the Shaffer Lamp Company
, which appears to have been the
final incarnation of the business after Shaffer, Miller & Huntington and The Rochester Burner Company.
Shaffer's Three Cone Burner, Hinged Gallery takes
the Lip Chimney shown in the upper left margin.
The company is best known for the PERFECTION two and three cone burners. They also manufactured "Lamps, Chimneys, Shades, Shade Holders, Collars and Lamp Goods."12
Henry E. Shaffer obtained at least 14 patents for improvements in lamps.
At least five other lamp patents were assigned to Shaffer, three of which were Charles F. Spencer's patents. At least four patents note H.E. Shaffer as witness, one of which being assigned to the Rochester Adjustable Lamp Company. For additional patent information, and to view the actual patents, see the patent table
below. Further research might turn up a connection between these companies.
The PERFECTION Burner was manufactured in both two and three flatwick configurations. Each configuration was made in two versions: one that took a regular slip chimney and one that utilized a lip chimney. The top of the burner on the lip version is hinged like a SUN burner and fastens to the burner body with a spring tab. The hinge is similar to a Marcy type hinge. The chimney is secured with one set screw. The version that takes a slip chimney has a removable deck or deflector that is secured by a tab/slot on one side and a spring clip on the opposite side. This deflector is not hinged and can be totally removed.
An excerpt from the 1888 H. Leonard & Sons Catalogue, 13
The Perfection Burners all use common flat wicks, either
No. 1 or 2, are simple in construction, and as easy to
trim and take care of a any common flat wick burner.
The No. 1, 3-Cone Burner, takes No. 1 wick and the
regular No. 2 Sun Chimney. The No. 2 Burners (either 2
or 3 cone) take the No. 2 flat wick and the Shaffer's
No. 1, 3-Cone Perfection Burner fits No. 2 Collar.......5.04
No. 2, 2-Cone Perfection Burner fits No. 2 Collar.......5.04
No. 2, 3-Cone Perfection Burner fits No. 3 Collar.......6.30
Both thumb wheels
Triple Cone Burner taking Regular Slip Chimney
on the two cone shown above are marked S.P. BURNER, the S.P. standing for SHAFFER's PERFECTION. It is also marked around the upper lip of the burner body - PAT'D AUG 22, 1871 AUG 10, 1886. Three different triple-cone versions I have seen are marked on the thumb wheels: PAT APPLIED FOR on the one, S.P. BURNER on the second, and the third PAT AUG.22.71 & PATS. ALID. I assume that ALID is an abbreviation for "applied," although it's seldom abbreviated that way. The August 10, 1886 reference is that of George E. Brush of Danbury, Connecticut, for patent number 118,193. This shows a burner similar to Shaffer's, but the wicks formed a U-shape. Henry Shaffer's patent number 358,892 obtained on March 8, 1887 shows a similar two cone burner, but this patent does not appear on the burners that I have seen. Shaffer's patent number 347,132 and dated August 10, 1886 shows the three cone burner.
Also from the 1888 H. Leonard & Sons Catalogue, 14
10 per cent less in original barrels
Open per doz.
No. 2 Shaffer Chimney, for 2 cone burner, plain........ 1.25
No. 2 Shaffer Chimney, for 2 cone burner, ground....... 1.50
No. 3 Shaffer Chimney, for 3 cone burner, plain........ 1.25
No. 3 Shaffer Chimney, for 3 cone burner, ground....... 1.50
Viewing the No. 2 Three Cone
Showing the detail of the underside of a No. 2, Three Cone, Shaffer Perfection Burner
from the underside we can see a number of things. The three loops forming a triangle that are soldered to the underside of the burner body are for feeder wicks. A feeder wick, more commonly found on duplex burners, enables the burner to draw more fuel upward via capillary action. Two and three wick burners generally have increased fuel consumption, due in part to a greater draft produced by multiple flames. This is particularly true of the Perfection burners because the series of air holes
around the outside of each cone create a significant draft. In use, a feeder wick would be threaded through each loop, draped over itself, and dropped into the fount along with the primary wick. This effectively increases the carrying capacity three times, from three pieces of wick to nine. You can also notice the vapor vent in the center of the burner - only one for the entire unit, rather than the customary vapor vent along each wick tube. You can also see more clearly the Marcy-style hinge with its curved rod serving as a stop.
R.F. Osgood: Attorney, Witness, Friend|
A common thread throughout H.E. Shaffer's patent history is the name of R.F. Osgood. Osgood is listed on Shaffer's 1869 fruit jar cover patent as a "witness." On all of Shaffer's inventions, and all patents assigned to him, R.F. Osgood is either listed as the attorney of record, or a witness to the event. A random search of other patents from the Rochester, New York area list Osgood as the attorney as well, dating at back to at least 1862 and as late as 1897. It would appear that R.F. Osgood was "attorney of choice" for some big names in the Rochester lamp business, including Shaffer, Charles F. Spencer and Leonard Henkle. Henkle being a key inventor for the Rochester Lamp Company. Regardless of the relationship to the patentees, R.F. Osgood enjoyed many decades in the company of some of the great innovators of the kerosene era.
The LUX DUX Table Lamp, manufactured by Shaffer, is marked PATENTED JULY 24, 1888 on the flame spreader, Shaffer's pat. no. 386,758.
Photo: Heinz and Ursula Baumann
Aside from the Perfection line of lamp burners, there are very few known examples of Shaffer's handiwork. One exception is the line of LUX DUX lamps. LUX DUX means "Leading Light" in Latin. These lamps are quite similar in appearance to the more common Rochester lamps manufactured for the Rochester Lamp Company
, by Edward Miller
and the Bridgeport Brass Company
. Shaffer's designs employ quite different wick raising mechanisms and flame spreaders, which constitute a number of his lamp patents. They are known in a table lamp, a banquet lamp, and supposedly a store lamp as well. The flame spreader on the lamp depicted here is marked: PATENTED JULY 24, 1888 - which refers to H.E. Shaffer's patent number 386,758. This lamp is also marked LUX DUX / ROCHESTER, N.Y. on the shoulder. Another variation of this flame spreader is marked: PATENTED / LUX-DUX / JULY 24 1888. All of Henry E. Shaffer's known patents between 1888 and 1896, eleven in number, related to center draft lamps - wick raiser variations, air distributer or flame spreader technology, and other designs for improved draft and burner manufacture.
|Patents granted to or assigned to Henry E. Shaffer |
between December 21, 1869 and February 25, 1896
||[ more? ]
|Henry E. Shaffer's Fruit Jar Patents|
|¹ = H.E. Shaffer as witness to patent; ² = For reference, I include #118193 to George E. Brush, as noted above; ³ = Assigned to Shaffer |
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.
- 1 http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com
- 2 Putzier, William, Flour City's Jars, Old Bottle Magazine, July, 1972, p. 48
- 3 Roller, Dick, ed., Fruit Jar Newsletter, October, 1981, p. 89.
- 4 Putzier, p. 49.
- 5 Ibid.
- 6 Roller, Dick, ed., Fruit Jar News, Old Bottle Magazine, April, 1974, pp. 18-19.
- 7 Roller, Dick, ed., Fruit Jar News, Old Bottle Magazine, January, 1975, p. 23.
- 8 The Rushlight, Volume 54, No. 1, The Rushlight Club, March 1988, p. 5.
- 9 The author would like to thank Carol Sandler, Library Director from the The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York, for the information and advertising image from the 1886 - 1893 Rochester City Directories.
- 10 The author would like to thank J.W. Courter for copies from Industries of the City of Rochester.
- 11 The Rushlight, p. 5.
- 12 Ibid.
- 13 The Illuminator, Volume 1, No. 2, The Historical Lighting Society of Canada, April 1987, p. 16.
- 14 Ibid.