A good quality, shaped ends 3 bottle Victorian Tantalus of classic form the lockable top cover being silver plated with attractive silver plated side discs and details
Initials to the centre name plate - 3 X diamond cut decanters with faceted stoppers
Signed: Full Atkin Brothers stamped marks - Patent - Hobbs & Co, London, Lever (lock)
Slight wear commensurate with age as one would expect -
Very Good quality Victorian Tantalus
14 inches (35.5cm) Width X 6 inches (15.5cm) Depth X 12 inches (30.5cm) Height
Private Estate / London
HOBBS HART AND CO. LTD. STAFFA ROAD, LEYTON.
Makers of "Lever" and "Patent Protector" locks for all purposes.
Alfred C. Hobbs was an American who came to England in 1851 as a salesman with Day and Newell when they came to exhibit at the Crystal Palace Exhibition. He had also become an acknowledged master at picking locks and took on the challenge of picking a Bramah padlock. It took him 51 hours in 16 working days, after which he could open the lock in an hour. The Arbitrators awarded him the prize of 200 guineas.
With this money, and the invaluable publicity he had received, he went into business as a lockmaker in Cheapside, London. The company started in 1851 and was formally registered as Hobbs and Co. in 1852. But by 1855 it had become Hobbs, Ashley and Co. Soon the name changed to Hobbs, Ashley and Fortescue, with an address at 97 Cheapside. It is not clear whether they moved or Cheapside altered, but the address for ninety years was 76 Cheapside. They used advanced machine methods and were highly successful.
In 1860 Hobbs returned to America and went on to patent many machines. Before he left, British pride was somewhat restored when one of the Chubb workmen picked a Hobbs Lock. Hobbs had never intended to stay in England and, when Ashley died in1860, he had no difficulty in disposing of a thriving business to John Mathias Hart. It is not known if Hobbs was any relation to Thomas Hart or if either were related to William Albert Hart, who was a director from 1908 to 1910.
Hobbs had stipulated that his name should always head the Company so it became Hobbs, Hart and Co. in 1860. Hart died in 1887 and the firm became a limited company. Hobbs retained an interest in the company: he returned in 1872 to celebrate the 21st anniversary, held at the Crystal Palace which had, by then, been moved to Sydenham.
Alfred Hobbs died in 1891.
According to Peter Cowie (Locks and Keys, July 1995) the company became a member of the Chubb group in 1954. But Peter Gunn writes to us that "according to my information Chubb took over in 1956. When I transferred to Chubb's Lock Sales Department in 1968, there were still 2 or 3 ex-Hobbs employees working at Chubb Head Office, handling enquiries for Hobbs locks. Chubb kept the Leyton factory going until about 1961, after which manufacture of Hobbs products was transferred to the Chubb Lock Works in Wolverhampton".
Antique Pitchers & Decanters