W A S Benson
(c) Vin Callcut 2002-2016. Small extracts can be used with acknowledgements to 'Oldcopper.org' website.
Helpful comments are very welcome.
W. A. S. Benson, (1854-1924) Hammersmith, London, c1880-1920 making art metalware for table use and for oil, gas and electric lighting fittings. He was closely associated with William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Benson products were retailed through Morris & Co. for interior designers and he also had his own shop in Bond Street, London for some time.
Some items were not marked. Other makers copied many of the designs.
This mark found under a coffee jug is very small but the 'WASB' can just be seen between the hammers. The 'ZA' may be the mark of the individual coppersmith. It is not shown in most books on Benson.
This mark on the cast iron base of a copper-lidded dish.
This mark is most often found on the Benson design of insulated (double-walled) jug.
This one usefully has a patent date.
The table below shows the Benson marks as classified in ‘The Neglected Mr Benson’, Harvey Ferry & William Clegg, The Country Seat, Oxon RG9 5RY. An Exhibition of Lighting and Metalwork of W A S Benson 1854 – 1924, 2000, 29pp.
Benson Water Jugs
'Benson's Patent Jacketed Vessels for Toilet Use'
These jugs all have an inner lining that is 'white enamelled on Bessemer steel' to quote the Benson catalogue. There is an air gap between the inner and outer which would allow useful insulation and help keep the water hot. Most were intended to be used to carry hot water from the kitchen range kettle up to bedroom toilet stands and were made in sizes from 1½ pints up to 2 gallons. (2 gallons of water weighs 20lb!)
Some of the smaller jugs have pouring spouts made of nickel and were presumably meant for use at the tea table to top up the tea pot when needed. All are marked underneath with one of the Benson Trade Marks.
The kettles made in the Hammersmith factory were mainly intended for use in living rooms rather than the kitchen. They are of excellent design and build quality with a large variety of types and sizes to suit buyers' needs. This selection is mostly of kettles that could be kept warm with a spirit burner, including one (top left) especially made for sale through Tiffanys. The bottom row includes one kettle without stand, a teapot with interior tea filter, a coffee pot and an electric kettle.
Benson Oil Lamps
Amongst many other elegant designs, Benso produced some very graceful oil lamps. The burners may have been made by Hinks but the winder knobs showed the actual manufacterer of the base, column and fount.
Makers and their Marks