Interesting book rest / bed tray c.1930s?

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Post by NaomiM on May 20th 2012, 9:30 pm

Rescued this from a skip a few months back. The legs and reading slope fold down. Made of what looks like mahogany and oak plywood, with mahogany layer on the top and bottom.

It has a label on the underside, saying Manufactured by John Watts, Sheffield and London Limited. I googled the name and there is still a John Watts of Sheffield but it now trades in abrasives.

1930s or 50s?

Interesting book rest / bed tray c.1930s? Dscn9310

Interesting book rest / bed tray c.1930s? Dscn9311

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Post by studio-pots on May 31st 2012, 9:30 pm

The John Watts Ltd. you found in Sheffield was only incorporated in 1999 so there is unlikely to be a connection.

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Post by NaomiM on May 31st 2012, 11:48 pm

Ah, that is a shame.
There is mention in the Sheffield Archives of a:
John Watts (Sheffield & London) Ltd, manufacturers and suppliers of cutlery, scissors, cabinets and other goods
The cutlery business had been going since the 18th Century, so presumably they gradually increased their repertoire of goods into the 1900s.
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Post by Nic on June 1st 2012, 9:14 am

I wonder if there may be two companies with the same name, occupying the same space in Sheffield... just in different times.

The old John Watts factory is now refurbished office rentals, but has kept the same name (for once the developers haven't smashed everything and have kept the wonderful stone signage on the building's front - check out 'Lambert Street S37AB' in Googlemaps streetview).

So John Watts (manufacturer) seems to have been running from 1765 - 1999, and John Watts (office rental) seems to be 1999 - present).
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Post by NaomiM on June 1st 2012, 12:52 pm

Maybe the later company bought the name?

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Post by Nic on June 1st 2012, 1:00 pm

This was my thinking. It would make sense, if you owned the one building and it had "John Watts" all over the front of it, to nab the now-defunct name for your own rental business.
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Post by NaomiM on June 1st 2012, 1:06 pm

I wonder if they kept the old archive - 250 years of history?
You hear horror stories of everything being thrown onto the skip.

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Post by Nic on June 1st 2012, 1:21 pm

I saw a programme about reclaimers not so long ago - they interviewed a developer who showed the cameras an archive room of a Victorian factory they were about to demolish, rammed to the rafters with old wooden files and a hefty old iron safe.

He pointed at it and said people often tell him that this stuff is valuable, and it would be barbarous to destroy it... but at the end of the day it takes time to remove it, which gets in the way of knocking it down and building some overpriced low quality crap on top of this glorious building's grave (that last bit might not have been his actual words).

Lots of heritage is destroyed by philistines with schedules. The rest is destroyed by stupid stupid builders who think that £100 in scrap price is better than £10k in architectural salvage.
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Post by NaomiM on June 1st 2012, 4:32 pm

Ah, yes, I think I saw that programme too. Was that the one where the reclamation company returned for the marble and cast iron staircase, only to find it had been ripped out and ruined already.

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Post by NaomiM on June 1st 2012, 4:36 pm

Wish I'd taken a photo of them, but we had a lovely pair of c.1920s wooden filing drawers - they were one sliding drawer each, and stackable, in one of the local charity shops.
Marked:
Su-Tall
J.T&Co.
I haven't found anything about them on line.

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