Saturday, January 24, 2015

More Data on Cope's Patent Castors

Mr. Cope's Patent Bed Wheels

Six months ago I posted information about some nice antique hardware,  specifically wheels marked "COPE'S PATENT".  You can find this post using the search tool; it was July 5, 2014.

Well, yesterday I finally found another example of this type of wheel, from an email sent to me by an English antique dealer.  It is amazing and wonderful how internet searches can bring people together.
He had been searching the internet to find out information and discovered my post searching for help.

Thomas Franklin wrote to me stating that he has been in the antique business for 50 years in England and had seen numerous examples of Cope's castors over his career.  He indicated that many of these pieces were from the Regency period, which makes sense, since the rosewood table I restored was exactly from that period.

As Mr. Franklin now lives in France he is finding a good supply of English furniture which the aristocracy brought over from England some 150 years ago.

He sent me photos, which I post here, of wheels which were original to a Hepplewhite bed he purchased in France.  He said the bed could not be later than 1830, and that the Cope's wheels are "definitely English."

I have seen similar wheels (not marked Cope however) on bed frames from Lannuier (Empire period) to Herter Brothers (Late Victorian period).  Most of the high end beds during the 19th century had wheels, either brass or porcelain, mounted under the frame inside the rails or foot/head boards.  These wheels allowed the rather heavy beds to be more easily moved away from the walls or around the room if necessary.

Height Adjustment Possible

Mr. Franklin notes that the wheels he has on his bed were the first he had seen with a method to adjust the height.

I am curious as to what exactly did Mr. Cope do to wheel design to gain the advantage of a patent?


William said...

Hi there,

If you look at William Bullock & Co's c1840 and Izon & Cos 1840 catalogues both patterns of castors are illustrated. The one with the extended stems is listed as a 'Best French Castors japanned' offered in lengths from 4" to (unbelievably) 22".

I did come across your earlier blog on Cope castors and had previously found a set on a very early cedar sofa table c1845. I am writing from New Zealand BTW. If you check out my PhD thesis you will find I have written a piece on Cope castors that I use as a way to date some of our earliest furniture. You will note that all those Victorian castors with porcelain wheels are stamped C & C Patent which was actually Cope & Collinson who dominated the castor industry throughout most of the century.

Patterns and Impressions

Best wishes
William Cottrell

W. Patrick Edwards said...

Wonderful response to my query. I study furniture much like an archeologist would study a dig. I look at the context (strata) and determine what is original and what has been "disturbed" by later restorers. When I find original material in situ I study it to gain an educated perspective of the period and culture which created it.

I have seen many pieces of furniture (English origin) which retained original hardware marked by Cope. In every case I had determined by style and construction that the object was made during the second quarter of the 19th century.

Until now I had no actual reference to Cope beyond the existence of the wheels on antiques. Your comment on my post has provided me with factual research to support my analysis. I will now have a chance to fill in the gaps.

Thank you for reading my blog. I look forward to reading your paper.