Miniature Candle Holders
Materials: Sheet iron, originally black lacquered.
Dimensions: Height 6 cm (2.5 inches); width 2 cm (0.75 inch).
Place of Origin: Probably Liverpool or London, UK.
Date: Believed 1890 – 1910.
Maker/retailer: Price’s Patent Candles Ltd.
Present Location: Private Collection.
These tiny candle holders are believed to be ‘give-aways’ offered by salesmen to prospective stockists of Price’s candles. They differ in the inscribed markings: one is marked ‘PRICE’S PATENT CANDLES’ and ‘BEST QUALITY’ while the other is marked ‘FITTED WITH PRICE’S PATENT CANDLES’ and ‘BEST QUALITY’.
At the beginning of the 20th century Price’s were the world’s largest manufacturer of candles, employing 2150 people in their London and Liverpool factories. Their annual output of candles totalled 25000 tons and they produced over 130 differently named and specified sizes of candle.
These tiny candle holders would fit well in a pocket or handbag and could be used in emergencies. Their small size makes them appealing as a useful object and a sales gimmick. They could be opened out and stood on their own, or the hooked hinge wire could allow them to be hung from a ledge or similar. One type of candle made by Price’s was the ‘servant’s bedroom candle’ which burned for only 30 minutes, and it is possible that these tiny holders could be examples of this type. However, similar cylindrical holders are known in early Dutch silver, indicating perhaps that the convenience of a pocket candle holder when travelling was desirable and that the ‘servant’s bedroom candle’ was of a different design.