ANTIQUE MAHOGANY & GLASS LIGHTING STOOL

antique-lighting-stool-mahogany-glass-legs-DSC_7879

£295.00

ANTIQUE MAHOGANY & GLASS LIGHTING STOOL

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Product Description

ANTIQUE MAHOGANY & GLASS LIGHTING STOOL

Circa 1801

Height: 8 inches / 20.3 cm
Width: 13¾ inches / 35 cm
Depth: 10 inches / 25.4 cm

Stock number: TS7879/217
Price: £295

A small mahogany lighting stool with hand blown glass screw in legs, a very unusual item.

These wooden-seated stools with glass legs, were said to have been used to stand on during thunder storms in the hope of insulation against lighting strikes. Another, even more colourful English, West Country, account associates them with tests for witchcraft.

Generally, 'lightning' stools had mahogany tops and tapered glass legs which were often screwed in. They are found up to 18 inches square and also with rectangular and oval tops. The bottoms of the legs tend to be ground and the sides are often rough, since it was discovered that a textured surface could enhance the insulatory properties of the glass. They were manufactured from the middle of the eighteenth century to late in the nineteenth. A prototype is illustrated in a French print of 1752, which shows a board supported on four glass bottles. In the 1770's a London scientific instrument maker, Edward Nairne, made an apparatus for lecturing on electricity, which fitted into a wooden traveling case and included a wooden stand on glass legs, the other principal part of such equipment was a friction machine, of which the first as devised by a German, Otto von Guericke, in 1660, using a revolving sulphur ball. By the early eighteenth century this had been replaced by a glass one in Sir Isaac Newton's experiments.

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