Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Edward Price and Co

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1830 Edward Price and Co was founded by William Wilson, and his business partners, John Studholme Brownrigg, John Cockerell and Sir George Gerard de Hochpied Larpent. Edward Price seems not to have been a real person but an invention to disguise the individuals involved in the company.

William Wilson took out a license on an 1829 patent for the hydraulic separation of coconut fats. He and his partners built a candle factory at Vauxhall on the Thames in South West London, a crushing mill just up river at Battersea and invested in 1,000 acres of coconut plantation in Sri Lanka.

William son, George Fergusson Wilson, experimented with Chevreuil's 'saponification' process which, by mixing a strong alkali with vegetable or animal fats, caused the solution to separate into liquid and solid components. This technique was already used by soap makers but nobody had employed it for candle manufacture. By adding a further distillation George improved the process. Price's could refine tallow and vegetable oils to produce a harder, pure white fat known as stearine. Candles made from this burned brightly without smoke or smell. George's development was also usable with palm oil.

1840 Many people lit one of Price's new stearine 'composite' candles made from a mixture of refined tallow and coconut oil to celebrate Queen Victoria's wedding.

1840 The company had 84 members of staff.

1841 Advert, 'Patent Candles.— We advise our readers to make a trial of Price's Patent Candles'[1]

1844 Advertisement. 'Edward Price and Co - Patentees and sole manufacturers of the Composite Candles, respectfully call the attention of the public to the fact, that, although the price of these is somewhat higher than that of ordinary mould candles, they are in reality much cheaper than these latter; one real composite candle giving about the same quantity of light as three of the moulds. They require no snuffling, and burn more brilliantly than the best wax. The purposes of economy and luxury are therefore both served at the same time by the use of these candles. Parties intending to try them for the first time, requested to take care that they are served in the shops with "Price's Patent Candles:" the reason for this caution is given elsewhere. They are sold by most of the respectable tallow chandlers throughout the kingdom, and wholesale to the trade by Edward Price and Co., Belmont. Vauxhall; and by Palmer and Co., Sutton-street, Clerkenwell.'[2]

1847. Partnership dissolved. '...undersigned, William Wilson, John Studholme Brownrigg, Sir George Gerard de Hochepied Larpent, Baronet, John Cockerell, and Brice Pearse under the firm of Edward Price and Co of Belmont, Vauxhall, in the county of Surrey, Patent Candle Manufacturers, has been dissolved, by mutual consent, as from the 24th day of September instant, so far as concerns the said Sir George Gerard de Hochepted Larpent and John Cockerell, who retire...'[3]

Became Prices Patent Candle Co

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Leicestershire Mercury - Saturday 20 November 1841
  2. London Standard - Tuesday 23 July 1844
  3. [1] Gazette Issue 20778 published on the 1 October 1847. Page 17 of 36