Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - The Morning Chronicle : Labour and the Poor, 1849-50; Henry Mayhew - Letter XXXIX

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LETTER XXXIX

Thursday, February 28, 1850 

The manufacture of dolls employs many hands, being divided into many distinct branches. The two main divisions are the "wooden" and the "sewed" dolls - the former being the dolls of the poor, and the latter those of the rich. The wooden dolls are exceedingly primitive in their structure - there is little or no attempt at symmetry in the body - while the limbs are mere slips of lath jointed. The sewed dolls rank much higher as works of art. Whether this be the consequence or the cause of a greater division of labour, it is difficult to say; suffice it that, whereas the wooden doll is generally begun and completed by one hand (with the exception, perhaps, of the wig), the sewed doll has as many distinct branches of manufacture as it is divisible into distinct pans. In the first place, there is the doll sewer and stuffer - the calico integuments being generally cut out by the manufacturer, and given out with the sawdust, hair, or wool, with which the body is to be filled, to the same party. Then there is the dolls' head maker (wax and composition) - the dolls' arm and leg manufacturer - the dolls' wig maker - and the doll dresser. Each of these are separate branches of the trade. Occasionally some family may be met with where the whole of the branches (with the exception of making the eyes) are performed; but this is far from usual, especially with the better description of work.
    And first concerning the wooden dolls. I called upon a maker whom I found ill in bed, suffering from rheumatism. In his room were piles of the bodies, and collections of the arms and legs of dolls; they caught the eye on every side. This doll-maker regretted the decline of art in some branches of his calling. A description of cheap wooden dolls that used to have their noses carved were now made, through the demand for lowness in price, with the nose but a little elevated on the countenance - "nothing to call a nose," he said; but, though the man was conversible enough, I did not think it proper to persevere in my inquiries with him in his sick state, and so visited another, whom I found at work, assisted by his daughter. He was an elderly person, who had known the trade many years, as his narrative shows. He said:
    "I make the jointed wooden dolls. The turned work (the body) is the work of the turner's lathe. I do it myself, and the faces of the commoner dolls are a composition put on afterwards. I go in for beauty as much as I can, even in the lower priced dolls. These dolls, now, are carved, after having been turned out of the wood. The carving' and drawing' - making the eyes, eye-brows, and lips in colours with a fine brush - are the fine touches of the trade. Nice lips and eyes set the article off. The lower-priced dolls have wooden joints at the middle, by which the legs are fastened to the body. We don't go in for symmetry in the commoner sorts of legs; nor, indeed, for any calves at all to them. They are just whitened over. The better ones have nice calves, and flesh coloured calves too. They are more like nature. The joints of the two sorts are made on the same principles. I buy their ringlets - it's generally ringlets, but, sometimes, braids or plaits, ready made - and have only to fit them on. That's not very different from human nature. I take it. The arms are stuffed leather, made by others. The best time for my trade was from 1809 to 1816. In every one year that I have named, I made 35 gross of dolls a week: but they were little creatures, some of them 4 inches long, dwarfs of dolls. I don't deal with the little creatures now. I'm in the larger line, as you see. A namesake of mine at that time made 100 gross a week. That's 1,960,880 dolls as year, is it? Look at that, now, for us two only. The little things I spoke of used to fetch a penny, now it's a farthing. I make now, I believe, two gross of dolls one week, and one another. The larger dolls require more time, which accounts, independent of the demand, for the difference. My dolls are sold to the public at 3s. and 1s.: that's the retail price, mind, and small are my profits. Wooden doll making is generally confined to families, so we can't speak of journeyman's wages. There are eight other doll-makers, and perhaps each may take twice as many as I do, but as they make so many more of the smaller sort, the cost (to the public) wouldn't be more than mine, perhaps about the same - but I can only guess. I have felt a great falling off in the demand since the last tariff - at least one quarter less is now made. When the duty was highest I knew a gentleman who now and then would venture £1,000 in buying foreign toys. It was, he said, a speculation, but he generally got £2,000 for his £1,000, and the toy trade was benefited, for variety and new fashions were seen, and there was a better demand for toys.
    Now of the sewed dolls. The following statement will give the reader a slight insight into the earnings and condition of those who contribute so much to the pleasure of the young of the metropolis. It was given me by a man whose whole appearance showed grinding poverty. His cheeks were sunk more than I remember to have ever seen in any previous instance, and altogether he seemed, from grief and care, like a man half dead. His room, as well as I could see it by the light of one small candle - for it was late at night before I could visit him - was bare of anything to be called furniture, except only a very poor bed, a chair or two, and a table or bench at which he was at work with his paste and paper. In one corner was an oblong object, covered with an old quilt. It was a coffin containing the body of his child, a girl four years old, who had died of the hooping-cough. There were four living children in the room - all up, late as it was, and all looking feeble, worn, and sickly. A baby of four months old was asleep in the arms of a little girl of five or six. A baby of fifteen months apparently, was in the arms of another girl, who in vain strove to quiet it. The mother was absent with some of her wares. The man's manner was meek and subdued, and he did not parade either his grief or his poverty. He merely answered my questions, and to them he said: -
    "I make the composition heads for the dolls - nothing else. They are made of papier maché" ("paper mashed" he called it). "After they go out of my hands to the doll-makers, they are waxed. First they are done over in flake' light (flesh colour), and then dipped in wax. I make a mould from a wax model, and in it work the paper - a peculiar kind of sugar paper. My little girl, fifteen years old (I have her besides these four young ones), and myself can only make twelve or thirteen dozen a day of the smallest heads. For them I get 4d. a dozen, 4s. the gross, and the material I reckon costs me 1s. 10d. If I make 2s. 6d. in a day, I reckon it a good day's work - and what is half-a-crown for such a family as mine? I pay 4d. per lb. for paper, and am so poor that I am forced to buy it all retail. I make, of all sizes, four gross of heads a week, the year through. That is 29,952 a year. I do not make 12s. a week on the average, take the year through. Besides, doll making is a precarious trade, and then there's fire and candle extra when you must work in a hurry. The dark must do when I'm forced to be idle. There are five more in the trade, and each may do more a year than I do, but I cannot tell. Some of the warehouses, moreover, get their heads made on the premises by boys at 5s. or 6s. a week, and that knocks us out altogether sometimes. They think only of cheapness - it's nothing what such as I may suffer. My poverty is grievous enough, as you see; and as you asked. I tell you. My wife makes a few dolls' arms of stuffed sheepskin; sawdust is used. She only gets seven farthings a dozen for them, and has very little employment. My trade was far better. Only two years ago I had from 1 d. to 2d. a dozen better prices for my heads - a great difference to me - and my wife had 5d. a dozen for her arms some years ago. They get the bodies now stuffed with sawdust at 2s.6d. a gross and they did pay 5s. It's starvation work - stuffing 144 bodies for half-a crown. Ah, sir, the children of the people who will be happy with my dolls little think under what circumstances they are made, nor do their parents - I wish they did. Awful circumstances in my room. Death there now (pointing to the coffin), and want here always. (This was really said most plaintively, because most naturally.)
    The doll's eye making is a peculiar and interesting branch of doll manufacture. There are only two persons following this business in London, and by the most intelligent of these I was furnished with the following curious narrative: -
    "I make all kinds of eyes, he said "both dolls' and human eyes; the birds' eyes are mostly manufactured in Birmingham. Of dolls' eyes there are two sorts - the common and the natural, as we call it. The common are simply small hollow glass spheres, made of white enamel, and coloured either black or blue (only two colours are made). The bettermost dolls' eyes, or natural ones, are made in a superior manner, but after a similar fashion to the others. You see this blue one: it has the iris correctly represented. I have been in the trade upwards of forty years, and my father followed it for sixty years before me. The price of the common black and blue dolls' eyes is 5s. for twelve dozen pairs of the small ones, and about 6s. for the same quantity of the large ones. We make very few of the bettermost kind, or natural ones. The price for those is about 4d. a pair, but they are only for the very best dolls. A man may make about twelve dozen pairs of the commoner, and about two or three dozen pairs of the better kind, in the course of the day. Average it through-out the year, a journeyman dolls'eye maker earns about 30s. a week. There are very few journeymen in the trade. We employ only two men, and the other party in the trade has, I believe, six workpeople, three of whom are females. The common dolls' eyes were 12s. the 12 dozen pairs, twenty-five years ago - now they are only 5s. The decrease of the price is owing to competition; for, though there are only two of us in the trade in London, still the other party is always forcing his business by underselling us. Immediately the demand ceases at all, he offers his eyes at a lower price than in the regular season, and so the prices have been falling every year. There's a brisk and a slack season in our business, as well as in most others. After the Christmas holidays, up to March, we have generally little to do; but from that time the eyes begin to look up a bit, and the business remains pretty good till the end of October. Where we make one pair of eyes for home consumption, we make ten for exportation. Yes, I suppose we should be soon over-populated with dolls if a great number of them were not to emigrate every year. The increase of dolls goes on at an alarming rate every year. As you say, sir, the annual rate of mortality must be very high, to be sure, but still it's nothing to the rate at which they are brought into existence. They can't make wax dolls in America, sir, so we ship off a great many there. I make eyes for a French house at Havre, that exports a vast quantity. The reason why they cannot produce dolls in America is owing to the climate. The wax won't set in very hot weather, and it cracks in extreme cold. I knew a party who went out there to start as doll maker. He took several gross of my eyes with him, but he couldn't succeed. The eyes that we make for Spanish America are all black. A blue-eyed doll in that country wouldn't sell at all. Here, however, nothing goes down but blue eyes. The reason for this is, because that's the colour of the Queen's eyes, and she sets the fashion in this as in other things. We make the same kind of eyes for the gutta percha dolls as for the wax. It is true, the gutta percha complexion isn't particularly clear, but our eyes are the natural tint; and if the gutta percha dolls look bilious, why we a'n't going to make our eyes bilious to match. It is not true that an order was given for £500 worth of dolls' eyes. I know Mr. McCulloch says as much in his Commercial Dictionary, but it was contradicted at the time. The largest order lever knew given at one time was for £50, and that was from the speaking dollmaker in High Holborn. We also make human eyes. Here are two cases - one black and hazel, and the other blue and grey. (He then took the lids off a couple of boxes that stood on the table; they each contained 190 different eyes, and so like nature that the effect produced upon a person unaccustomed to the sight was most peculiar and far from pleasant. They all seemed to be staring directly at the spectator, and occasioned a feeling somewhat similar to the bewilderment one experiences on suddenly becoming an object of general notice. The eyes of the whole world literally appeared to be fixed upon you, and it was almost impossible for the spectator at first to look at them without instinctively averting his head. The hundred eyes of Argus were positively insignificant in comparison with the 380 belonging to the human eye maker. ) "Here, you see, are the ladies' eyes," he continued taking one from the blue-eye tray; "you see it's clearer, and not so bilious as the gentlemen's. There's more sparkle and brilliance about them. Here's two different ladies' eyes - fine looking young women both of them. When a lady or gentleman comes to us for an eye we are obliged to have a sitting just like a portrait-painter. We take no sketch, but study the tints of the perfect eye. There are a number of eyes come over from France - but these are generally mis-fits. They are sold cheap, and seldom match the other eye. Again, from not fitting tight over the ball, like those that are made expressly for a person, they seldom move 'consentaneously,' as it is termed, with the natural eye, and have, therefore, a very unpleasant and fixed look - worst almost than the defective eye itself. Our artificial eyes move so freely, and have so natural an appearance, that one gentleman passed nine doctors without his false eye being detected. There is one lady who has been married three years to her husband, and I believe he doesn't know that she has a false eye to this day. The generality of persons take out their eyes when they go to bed, and sleep with them under their pillow, or else in a tumbler of water beside their bed. Most married ladies never take their eyes out at all. Some people will wear out a false eye in half the time of others. This doesn't arise from the greater use of them, but from the increased secretion of the tears, which act on the false eye like acid on metal, and so corrodes and roughens the surface. This roughness produces inflammation, and then a new eye becomes necessary. The Scotch lose a great many eyes - why I cannot say; and the men lose more eyes than the women. A great many eyes are lost through accidents while shooting. We generally make only one eye, but I did once make two false eyes for a widow lady. She lost one first, and we repaired the loss so well for her that, on her losing the other, she got us to make a second for her. False eyes are a great charity to servants. If they lose an eye no one will engage them. In Paris, there is a charitable institution for the supply of false eyes to the poor; and I really think if there was a similar establishment in this country for furnishing artificial eyes to those whose bread depends on their looks - like servants - it would do a great deal of good. We always supply eyes to such people at half price. Our usual price is £2 2s. for one of our best. I suppose we make from three hundred to four hundred eyes every year. The human eyes are part blown and part cast, and we are obliged to be very good chemists to know the action of the metallic oxides on the fire, so as to produce the proper colour of the iris. The great art of making a false eye is in polishing the edges quite smooth. The fire polish alone will do this. The French eyes are cut to fit the eye-ball by the lapidary in this country; the edges consequently, are left rough, and this causes great irritation. Of dolls' eyes we make about 500 gross of pairs of the common ones every year. I take it there are, of all sorts, near upon 24,000 dozen pairs of dolls' eyes made in London every year."
    From the very ingenious inventor of the speaking doll, a tradesman in High Holborn, I had this statement: -
    "I am the only person who ever made the speaking doll. I make her say 'papa' and 'mamma.' I haven't one in the house now to show you. I have sold the last. I sold one to be sent to St. Petersburg - it was damaged on the passage, and when landed couldn't say either 'papa' or 'mamma,' and the gentleman who bought it couldn't get it mended in all Russia. I could have told him that before. For the Exhibition of 1851 I believe there will be something equivalent to what I tell you of, but there will be something of everything. The invention of the speaking doll took me many experiments and much study. The thought first struck me one day on hearing a penny trumpet - why not make a doll speak? Science is equal to everything. Some time ago a ventriloquist came over from Dublin to me; he could imitate everything but a baby, and he came to consult me about a baby's voice. I put him in my show-room , and said 'You stand in the corner and hear it.' I made the doll speak, and he said 'that is the thing;' he gave me the two guineas for the price of the machine (not a doll), and went away quite glad. I have taken the apparatus to a party and made him speak on the stairs; a young gentleman I did it to tease turned quite white, as he could not tell who or what was coming. After I determined to try and manufacture a speaking doll, I persevered day by day, thinking of it when doing other things, and completed it in three months. I often dreamed of it, but never got a hint of the speaking doll in my sleep, though I have in other discoveries. When I heard my first speaking doll call me 'papa' - which she very properly might - I said in a sort of enthusiasm - it was the feelings of the greatest gratification - I've got her at last.' I sell rather more than a dozen in a year at £6 6s. each. Many a time in my show room have the children looked out for the baby when they heard my doll. I had a rascal of a parrot once who could say papa' and mamma~ as well as my doll herself-the parrot learned it from the doll. Many doll-makers have dissected my speaking doll to get at my secret. I knew one clever man who tried twelve months to copy it, and then he put his work in the fire. I laugh - I don't care a fig. I have the fame and the secret, and will keep them; the profit is but small - and as for the fame, why that's not for me to talk about."
    From a man and his wife who knitted cotton dresses for dolls, I had the following statement. The cotton dress is a doll's dress, covering the arms, and indeed the entire doll; with a cotton knit bonnet, and even a knitted muff and a knitted parasol if desired. The dress shown to me was neatly edged with a line of red cotton. One of its excellences was, I was told, that it could, in the process of knitting, be made to assume the fashion of ladies' "bustles." The following is the information given me:-
    "Last year was a very bad year indeed for us. Take it all through, we hardly made half a dozen in a week, and they are retailed by us at is. a dress. The cotton used is of any sort, generally thick, and the way is that of the knitting practised by ladies." "Yes," said the wife, "with a few improvements invented by myself." "The badness of trade," resumed the husband, "has made us very poor; and, in spite of us, the rent has got into arrear. Here is my book - no payment since January 17! Such a thing never happened with us before. If it wasn't for a little fancy knitting in other things, and a little washing, we might starve. Three years ago we could and did make a dozen of these cotton dresses a day, by working long hours, and could clear full 30s. a week. We had better prices then. Perhaps it's a change in fashion that has made the trade so bad."
    A toy drum and tambourine maker gave me the following account: -
    "The first process in making a tin drum," he said, "is to cut the tin the size required, solder the ends together, and colour the body. We then paint the Royal Arms on it, or a crown and V. R. The hoops are then cut (they are beech) and coloured, and then what we call the twig' is cut, and the parchment for the top of the drum being sewn to it, the twig is fitted to the tin body, and attached to it by the strings, which are tightened or slackened by leather braces, for the weather affects the drum. A best toy drum goes thirty-five times through our hands before it is finished, as time must be given in the working for the parts to dry and set. I don't make the sticks, the toy turners do them. I and my four boys could make a gross of small wooden drums in a day, but only a dozen of the best large tin drums, highly ornamented. Of wooden drums, I make a gross a week, the year through - and 52 gross, at 3d. a piece (retail) gives £93 12s. There are other makers in London, who may make about as many as I do; giving altogether £187 4s. We make very few tin drums now to what were made - the foreign toys have affected us so. I may make half a gross of them a week through the year, and taking the average price at 1s. (the big ones making up for the sixpennies), it gives £185 14s., which you can calculate as with the wooden drums - double it for other makers - and it's £371 8s. for London-made drums. Tambourines are made after the same fashion, but have only a limited sale. I only make about three dozen a week, and the public may buy them (retail) say at an average of 9d. - that's £70 4s. I can hardly tell you what the other makers sell. Whether the same calculation as with the drums would be correct or not for the tambourines, I can't say. I have heard an uncle whom I succeeded say - and he employed eleven men where I have four boys at apprentices' wages - that the war time was the time for the toy drum trade."
  
A gun toy-maker, whom I found at work, his wife assisting him, gave me this statement: -
    "I was born to the business of toy, gun, and pistol, as well as of tin toys, which consist of mugs and trumpets; but the foreigners have got all the trumpet trade now, what we got 30s. a gross for we now get only 7s. The other tin toys - such as horses and carts, got up by machinery for a penny - are made in Birmingham. None are made in that way in London; they're but slop toys. The tin toy trade at Birmingham is the factory system with children; think of children working hard at toys - poor little things to whom a toy is a horror! A gun is made in this manner. The wooden pan, the stock, is made ready for the gunmaker's use by any carpenter; it is of pine. The next process is the making of the wire spring, then the barrel (tin). These different pans are then put to the stock, the lock is made by ourselves; they are of solder, and cast. The spring is placed inside the barrel, a ring is placed at the end by which it is drawn out, fastened to the pin (like the nipple of one of your deadly guns), and the weapon is ready for discharge. I make the week through three gross, which is 22,464. There is one other toy gunmaker in London, and he may make as many as I do, which will be 44,928 made in London. Reckon a third retailed to the public at 4d. (called pistols), and reckon those retailed at 6d. in the proportion of 6 to 4 in number with those retailed at 1s., and you have the sum of £1,238 4s. The foreign trade has injured my business greatly, both as to quantity and price. I first felt the effect in 1844 and 1845, and my business has kept getting worse until now. I do not make half so many guns as I did before the change in the tariff, and the price is worse to me by 3s. out of 21s. - that was the price formerly of a gross of such as these, now they are 18s. only. The trumpet trade's quite blown away from us - I may as well have my joke about it. Of tin mugs I make 10 gross a week the year round, which is 74,880. There are three other makers, who may turn out one-half as many as I do, the three of them together - that is 111,320 in all. They are all retailed at ld. (I have 7d. a dozen), and so the public pay for tin mugs, made in London annually, £468 6s. 8d. In wartime, bless you, that was the time for my business - there was a demand for guns then I can tell you! I sold eight, then, to one that I sell now, though the population's increased so. These pistols, which I get 1s. 6d. a dozen for now, I had 3s. 6d. a dozen for then. I remember the first botched-up peace in 1802. 1 can just recollect the illumination. My father (I heard him say so) thought the peace would do no good to him, but it didn't last very long, and the toy-gun trade went on steadily for years - with a bit of a fillip, now and then, after news of a victory; but the grand thing for the trade was the constant report that Bonaparte was coming - there was to be an invasion, and then every child was a soldier. Guns did go off briskly at that period - anything in the shape of a gun found a customer in those days. Working people could then buy plenty of toys for their children, and did buy them too. The men in the trade earn 12s. a week. The warehouses send out quantities of my guns and pistols to the colonies, especially to Australia - the duty keeps them out of the United States. The slop toy trade goes down here now."
    An Italian gave me the following account of the detonating cracker business. His parlour, as well as the window of his workshop, presented an admixture sufficiently curious. Old foreign paintings, religious, mythological, or incomprehensible, were in close connection with unmistakeable Hogarth prints. Barometers (for these also were "made and repaired"), showed that it was "set fair," and alongside them were grosses of detonating crackers. Of frames and mouldings there was a profusion, and in all stages, from the first rough outline to the polished gilding. He said, in pretty good English with a strong Italian accent:
    "Yes. I make de detonating crackers, and am de only man in England skilful to make dem. It is a grand secret, mine art. It live in my breast alone - de full, entire secret. I will show you de pulling crackers. Dey go in wid de pastrycook's things at de parties of de rich. A gentleman say to a lady, so I have heard, in de pleasantness of de party, 'please to pull.' Yes, indeed, as they write above de bells. And so de pretty lady pull, and de cracker goes bang - a sudden bang - and de lady goes 'Ah-h-h!' quite sudden too, of course, dough she must have known before dat de crack was to come. Ah! sir, dey seldom tink of de Italian artist who make de pulling cracker dat has brought out her nice 'Ah-h-h!' for 3 ½d. de gross - dat is all we gets for de dozen dozen. I dare say de rich fashionable pastrycook get a great deal for dem. I don't know how much. Dey are sold at de retail shops, dat are not high shops, at a halfpenny a dozen. Den de detonatings - them what are trone down on de stones, and go bang, and make de people passing go start. Do dey cause many accidents do I tink? Bah, nonsense. It is de play of de boys: it keep dem out of mischief. I sell fifty gross, one week with another. I can make, if required, wid my boy, eighteen gross a day. All last year I sold, as near as I can tell, fifty of de pulling, and fifty gross of de detonating. Dat is - yes, no doubt - 14,400 a week, or 748,000 a year. How curious! More dan seven hundred dousand bang-bangs made in dis little place. Dere is danger, perhaps, in de make to some, but no to de right artist. At a halfpenny a dozen, dat is £260 paid by de public - dat is only part of my business; but den de pastrycook charges may make de amount double, and double again, and more dan double dat again."
    A very ingenious man, who resided in two spacious rooms at the top of a high house, gave the following statement concerning camera obscura making. I may here remark that I have always found the intelligent artisan - who could easily be made to understand the purport of my inquiries - ready to give me the necessary information, not only without reluctance, but with evident pleasure. Among the less informed class lam often delayed by meeting with objections and hesitations; these, however, are always obviated by having recourse to a more intelligent person. My present informant said:
    "I have known the camera obscura business for twenty-five years or so; but I can turn my hand to clock-making, or anything. My father was an optician, employing many men, and was burnt out; but the introduction of steam machinery has materially affected the optical glass grinder - which was my trade at first. In a steam-mill in Sheffield, one man and two boys can now do the work that kept sixty men going. I make bagatelle boards - there's no great demand for them - and targets - they go off very fair. The only improvement I remember in the making of the common camerasis this: Formerly the object glass was a fixture in the wood of the box, and immovable, and of course could only take an object at a certain distance, whereas, by applying a movable brass tube, with the glass in it, you can command objects at any distance, adjusting it precisely on the principle of a telescope. Too much light obliterates your object, and too little light wont define it. Last year I think I made three gross. Here is the stuff of the box body, cedar; all blacked in the inside, so as to exclude any false light. The bottom is deal, and the natural colour of that or of the cedar would obliterate an object by giving false lights. The small cameras are 2s. 6d. (retail), the next size is 5s., and so by half-crowns, generally up to 20s. or 21s. I make more than one-half 2s. 6d. ones; they sell well in the summer season. I don't get more than 6d. a piece out of the 2s. 6d. ones. Perhaps I make two gross smaller, and the other sizes, of the third gross, in about equal proportions; altogether £126 19s. There is no other maker for the toy- shops in the camera obscura trade, to my knowledge, beyond myself. In making my cameras I test them from this door to objects at a distance. It gives every line of those tiles, every shape of those chimney pots, and every tumble of those tumbler pigeons. So I detect any error in the focus, and regulate it. I must test them at a good height, with a good light. A fog gives you only a fog - no defined object. The perfect adjustment of the focus, and, indeed, of every portion, is the nice art of my trade."
    A very ingenious and intelligent man to whom I was referred, as the best in his trade, gave me the following account of magic lanterns. His parlour behind the shop - for he had risen to be a shopkeeper in some kinds of toys and other articles, known as the "fancy trade, was well furnished, and in a way that often distinguishes the better class of prosperous artisans. A fondness for paintings and for animals was manifested. On a sofa lay two very handsome King Charles's spaniels. On a chair were a fine cat and kitten. Outside his parlour window was a pigeon colony, peopled with fine large birds, a cross between those known as a "carrier" and a "horseman.'' Books, of no common class, were abundant enough, and his periodical was not wanting. He said:
    "I have known the business of magic lantern making thirty-five years. It was then no better than the common galantee shows in the streets, Punch and Judy, or any peepshow or common thing. There was no science and no art about it. It went on so for some time - just grotesque things for children, as 'Pull devil and pull baker.' This is the old style, you see, but better done." (He showed me one in which, to all appearance (for it was rather obscurely expressed), a cat was busy at the wash-tub, with handkerchiefs hanging on her tail to dry; Judy, with a glass in her hand, was in company with a nondescript sort of devil, smoking a pipe, and a horse was driving a man, who carried the horse's panniers.) "Bluebeards were fashionable then - uncommon blue their beards were, to be sure; and Robin Hoods - and Robinson Crusoes with Fridays and the goats, and the parrot, and the man's footmark on the sand - and Little Red Riding Hoods, as red as the Blue Beards were blue. I don't remember Ali Babas and Forty Thieves, there were too many of the thieves for a magic lantern - too many characters; we couldn't very well have managed forty thieves - it's too many. There were things called comic changes' in vogue at that period. As the glasses moved backwards and forwards, fitted into a small frame like that of a boy's slate, a beggar was shown as if taking his hat off, and Jim Crow turning about and wheeling about, and a blacksmith hammering - moving his hammer. There were no theatrical scenes beyond Harlequins and Clowns. About thirty years ago the diagrams for astronomy were introduced. These were made to show the eclipses of the sun and moon, the different constellations, the planets with their satellites, the phases of the moon, the rotundity of the earth, and the comets with good long tails. What a tail 1811 had! and similar things that way. This I consider an important step in the improvement of my art. Next, moving diagrams were introduced. I really forget, or never knew, who first introduced those improvements. The opticians then had the trade to themselves, and prices were very high. The moving diagrams were so made that they showed the motion of the earth and its rotundity, by the course of a ship painted on the lantern - and the tides, the neap and spring, as influenced by the sun and moon. Then there was the earth going round the sun, and, as she passed along, the different phases were shown, day here and night there. Then there were the planets going round the sun, with their satellites going round them. How wonderful are the works of the Creator! The comets, too; that of 1811, however, with a famous tail, as he deserved. His regular course - if you call it regular - was shown. I saw him when a schoolboy in Wiltshire then. There has not been a comet worth calling a comet since. The zodiac made very pretty slides - twelve of them, each a sign. These things greatly advanced the art and the demand for magic lanterns increased, but not much for some years, until the dissolving views were introduced, about eighteen years ago, I think it was. But I should tell you that Dollond, before that, made improvements in the magic lantern; they called the new instruments the phantasmagoria. Mr. Henry, who conjured at the Adelphi Theatre some eighteen years ago, was one of the first - indeed I may say the first - who introduced dissolving views at a place of public amusement. Then these views were shown by the oil light only, so that the effect was not near so good as by gas, but even that created a great impression. From the period I date what I may call the popularity of magic lanterns. Henry used two lanterns for his views; but using them with oil, and not on so large a scale, they would be thought very poor things now. Then the Careys introduced the gas microscope, up in Bond-street. The gas microscope (the hydro-oxygen it's sometimes called) is the magic lantern, and on the principle of the magic lantern, only better glazed, showing the water lions and other things in a drop of stagnant water. Thames water may do. I now introduce insects and butterflies' wings in my lanterns - real insects and real wings of insects on the slides. I make such as fleas, bugs, pig-lice (an extraordinary thing, with claws like a crab, sir), and so up to butterflies - all between glasses, and air tight - they'll last for ever if necessary. Here's the sting, tongue, and wing ofa bee. Here you see flowers. Those leaves of the fern are really beautiful - of course they are, for they are from the fern itself. This is one great improvement of the art, which I have given in a more simple form than used to be the fashion. You can magnify them to any size, and it's still nature - no disproportion and no distortion. Butterflies may be made as big as the wall of this room, through one of my magic lanterns with microscope power attached - but the larger the object represented, the less the power of the light. Gas, in some degree, obviates that fault. No oil can be made to give a light like gas. After this the question arose as to introducing views with the lime light, but the paintings in the lanterns were too coarse, for the light brought them out in all their coarseness. Every defect was shown up, glaringly, you may say. That brought in better paintings - of course at a greater cost. The Polytechnic has brought the lime-light for this purpose to great perfection. For the oil-lights the paintings are bold, for the lime-light fine and delicate. Next the chromatrope was introduced, revolving stars chiefly - the hint being taken from Chinese fireworks. Mount Vesuvius was made to explode and such like. That's the present state of the art in London. The trade is five or six fold what I once knew it. Landscapes, Fingal's caves, cathedrals, sea views, are most popular now. In the landscapes we give the changes from summer to winter - from a bright sun in July to the snow seen actually falling in January. 1 make between 500 and 600 a year, say 550; 1 think I make one half of those made. The lowest price of a well-made lantern is 7s. 6d., and soon up to £20, dissolving and double lanterns. About a third of the lowest price are made, but people often go on from that to a superior article. I sold last year about 100 of the best of single lanterns, retailed at £10. Calculate a third at 7s. 6d., and 100 at £10, and the intermediate prices in - I think we may say - equal proportions - and you have the amount. Average the middle lot at 30s., suppose - that is £1,469 14s. I think that the other magic lanterns made, though they may be double my quantity, will not realize more, as so many lower-priced lanterns are made: so double the amount, and we have £2,939 8s for London-made magic lanterns. I think I can, and shall, introduce further improvements. There are slop magic lanterns; they are slops, made, I believe, but I am not sure, in French Flanders; and I believe more of them are sold than of our own. What is worse than slop art, sir? These slop lanterns are generally retailed at 1s. 6d. each, with 12 slides. The tin part is neatly made; but, altogether, it is sad rubbish. I have been told by persons who bought them - and I have been often told it - that they could make nothing of them. The only good that they can do is, that they may tempt people to buy better ones - which is something. The admission of foreign toys at a low rate of duty has not injured the magic lantern business, but has rather increased it."