The R. Johnson Clapham & Morris safety lamp was part of a group lot estimated at just £15-20 but bidding opened at £1600 with several phones taking it to £3500 (plus buyer’s premium).
The metalworking firm established by Richard Johnson in Manchester made many miners lamps – the majority relatively common and priced under £100. However, this is a scarce variant of the Marsaut lamp – the blueprint for the modern mining lamp created by French mining engineer Jean Marsaut c.1882. As indicted by the inscription Howat Patent (1888), this particular lamp, has a deflector plate, used to encourage the flow of air between the bonnet and the gauze.
The most desirable of all miners’ lamps are the models produced to designs by three early 19th century pioneers – Humphrey Davey, George Stephenson and William Reid Clanny.