The Bog-Oak Industry

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The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:33 pm

THE BOG-OAK INDUSTRY

A topic for recording information, advertisements, and examples of the work of those involved in the Bog-Oak industry.

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:54 pm

IRISH BOG-OAK ORNAMENTS

We are always glad to draw public attention to any efforts of the sister island connected with the Fine Arts. One branch of Art-manufacture exclusively Irish deserves something more than the passing notice we gave it in our papers on the Exhibition of Manufactures, Machinery, and Fine Arts, inaugurated last summer in Dublin: we mean the manufacture of ornaments from Irish bog-oak. In condensation, as it were, for the coal-fields of England, Ireland possesses vast tracts of peat-moss or bogs: in these have been found, deeply buried, the relics of primaeval forests which flourished, it may be, before man had trodden the earth. Oak, fir, deal, and yew, have been dug up and used for firing and other purposes. But in the present century the hand of Art has converted portions of this product from comparative uselessness to articles of artistic value.

Tho history of bog-oak manufacture is somewhat interesting. When George IV. visited Ireland, in 1821, a person of the name of McGurk presented him with an elaborately carved walking-stick of Irish bog-oak, the work of his own hands, and received, we believe, a very ample remuneration. The work was much admired, and McGurk obtained several orders from time to time. Subsequently a man of the name of Connell, who lived in the lovely lake district of Killarney, commenced to do somewhat more regular business in carving the oak to be found plentifully in the district, and selling his work to the visitors as souvenirs of the locality. The trade prospered sufficiently to induce him to establish himself in Dublin, some twenty years ago, and at his retirement the business, now a profitable one, passed to his son-in-law, Mr. Cornelius Goggin, of Nassau Street. The beauty of the carving, and the elegance of the designs, chiefly taken from objects of antique Irish Art, made these ornaments the fashion not only in Ireland, but in England. The Queen, the Prince Consort, and other members of the royal family and the nobility, were purchasers of the most beautiful specimens; and so, carving in Irish bog-oak attained the position of a native Art, giving employment to many hands, and supporting many establishments.

The oak is black, and as hard as ebony; that best suited for carving is brought from the counties of Meath, Tipporary, Kerry, and Donegal. Of a load, which will be purchased for about thirty shillings, a considerable portion is unfit for use, by reason of flaws or splits. The wood is cut into pieces suitable for carving, and is worked on the end of the grain or section, and not on the length of the grain, or plank-wise. The process of carving is similar to that of ivory. The more experienced workmen carve designs without any pattern before them, and can earn from forty to fifty shillings a week; the wages of the less expert vary from ten shillings upwards; and women earn nearly as much as men. The total number of persons employed in this artistic handicraft is something over two hundred. Many of them work on the premises of their employers, while others take the material to their own houses.

A method of producing very fine effects at a great saving of cost and labour, has been patented by Mr. Joseph Johnson, of Suffolk Street. This is effected by stamping: the piece of wood, cut to the required size, is placed on the top of the die, which latter is heated by means of a hot plate of metal upon which it stands; over the wood a similar hot plate is laid; upon this a powerful screw-press descends, and the wood receives the impress of the die as freely as wax, the bitumen in it preventing the fibre from cracking or crumbling. In this way object of exquisite delicacy and very high relief, almost to the height of an inch, are produced in a moment. The designs thus obtained by the die are readily distinguishable from those wrought by the carver's tool; they want the extreme sharpness of the carving, but they are capable of showing, in compensation, more minute figuring and more elaborate details.

The dies, some of which are very beautiful in design, and all sharply cut, are made on the premises.

This branch of trade has done some service to Art in Ireland, by producing many excellent native carvers, several of them in the humblest walks of life. Amongst those one pre-eminently deserves to be mentioned. Many years ago, three ladies of the name of Grierson, persons of education and refinement, turned their attention to educating some of the young people in their neighbourhood, in the Dublin mountains, in the art of wood-carving, as they had seen it practised in Sweden. The project was successful, and amongst the pupils one of the name of Thomas Rogers attained to such excellence that his work will safely bear comparison with the best artists of any country. He is of course in full business. From time to time he comes down from his retired home, a glen in the Dublin mountains, known by the poetic name of Glen-na-Smohl, or the "Valley of the Thrush"–receives his orders, takes home his wood, and returns in due time with his work executed in the most exquisite manner. This year he executed for Mr. Johnson, of Suffolk Street, one of the most elaborate and beautiful pieces of work that has ever been produced in this country–the large bog-oak box made for the purpose of holding the Irish lace presented to the Princess of Wales by the ladies of Ireland, the box being a gift to her from the Irish gentry.

It is not easy to estimate the amount of the sales of bog-oak work. Mr. Johnson sells between £4,000 and £5,000 a year, and Mr. Samuel, Mr. Connell, and others, do a proportionably large business. It is to be regretted that a very inferior imitation is produced in England, made of common deal, stamped and coloured, which is sold as genuine Irish carved bog-oak. It can, however, deceive only the very ignorant or the very unwary.

The stranger who visits Dublin may dispose of an idle hour very agreeably in the inspection of the shops where these bog-oak ornaments are sold. The principal establishments are those of Mr. Johnson and Mr. Goggin, already alluded to, and of the brother of the latter in Grafton Street, and those of Mr. Samuel in Nassau Street, and Mr. Johnson in Fleet Street. Articles of very much the same character may be seen in them all. Antique sculptured crosses in high relief, round towers, abbeys, antique brooches and fibulae, harps, shamrocks, and other national emblems, besides a multitude of articles used in the boudoir and the drawing-room.

Unhappily there are not many Irish manufacturers: it is a duty to encourage those that do exist: they will in time become better as well as more numerous: we have strong faith not only in the capabilities of the country–so fertile in raw materials of every available and useful kind–but in the power of its people to turn them to valuable account.


Source: The Art Journal - 1865

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:33 am

E.M. GOGGIN

20a, Nassau Street, Dublin


Image
E.M. Goggin - Dublin - 1895


Ellen Mary Goggin (1851-1941), was the youngest daughter of Cornelius Goggin.


E. M. GOGGIN

Bog Oak Ornament Manufacturer and Jeweller, 20a, Nassau Street, Dublin.

The manufacture of ornaments from bog oak and other Irish natural products is an industry which offers unlimited scope for the exercise of artistic taste, and one which has been developed with almost remarkable success in Dublin and throughout the country. It is to such houses as that of Mr. E. M. Goggin that the best attainments in this branch of work may be fully accredited, and the establishment in Nassau Street presents the special interest of having been associated with the trade for more than half a century. The work for which the house was originally established, namely, the carving of bog-oak from its rough condition, has been supplemented by such operations as the polishing and embellishing of Connemara marble and Wicklow spar, the ornaments from which have become everywhere popular. It is almost impossible to conceive at the present time a single article of ornament or nick-nack that cannot be fashioned from bog oak. Candlesticks, paper knives, pen-holders, walking sticks, and a host of useful items illustrate the extent to which this much-favoured and always improving branch of industry can be carried. Mr. Goggin's emporium, with its neat frontage to Nassau Street and its well-arranged interior, conveys many pleasant and interesting impressions of the attractiveness of an industry and trade into which so much genuine art and expert handiwork have been introduced, and one of the most conspicuous evidences of ingenuity in bog-oak carving is a first-rate model of the Irish jaunting car and miniature copies of the famous ancient Crosses of Monasboice and of Clan Macnoise and Kells of Tuam; also miniature models of the old round towers, models of old-fashioned mirrors, and old ancient drinking cups; while, in the marble goods, bracelets and ornaments for the neck predominate. The special excellencies of everything produced by Mr. Goggin may be estimated from the fact that he transacts a large continental business, sending novelties to places where they may be expected to come into comparison with foreign manufactures, and where they are, however, much prized and much demanded. He also deals with the American and Australian markets and commands a trade the character of which necessitates constant and increasing supply. The workers are, for the most part, employed at their own homes, all being artisans of especial aptitude and skill, and selected for their intimate acquaintance with the technique of the difficult art represented by Mr. Goggin. The central position of the establishment in Nassau Street tends to render it a favourite resort for visitors to Dublin, and its old established standing in the City's trade finds due endorsement in the busy custom of which it is the centre, and the undiminished popularity and favour it retains after fifty years of continuous and uninterrupted support.


Source: Dublin, Cork, and South of Ireland: A Literary, Commercial, and Social Review - 1892

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:17 pm

WILLIAM GIBSON

Donegall Place and Castle Place, Belfast


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William Gibson - Belfast - 1874


BRITISH EXHIBITS AT THE CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION - WATCHES, JEWELLERY, AND SILVERWARE

The American 'Jeweller and Silversmith' devotes considerable space to the description of the exhibits of watchmaking, jewellery and silverware at the Centennial Exhibition. And in alluding to exhibits of British, manufacture describes them as follows :-

EXHIBITS OF MR. WILLIAM GIBSON, MANUFACTURING JEWELLER, BELFAST, IRELAND

In passing through the British section in the main building, we were strongly attracted to the superb display of jewellery made by Mr. William Gibson, of Belfast. His exhibits of Irish jewellery cannot fail to favourably impress all persons visiting the Exposition who have even the most cursory knowledge of the value of articles in this line. The display is worthy of note, first, because of its great intrinsic value, rivalling all of the jewellery exhibits in this particular; second, for the originality of the designs shown; and third, on account of the locality in which the articles were made.

Belfast has always been famous for its manufactures of linen goods, but not until within a few years past has it enjoyed any prestige in the goldsmiths' art. If we may be allowed to form an opinion from Mr. Gibson's display, we will say that the jewellers of London and Birmingham must look to their laurels. His plate-glass show-cases are rich and elegant in appearance, black, striped with gold, 12 feet in width, and 14 feet in height, with a handsome canopy draped in blue silk. A copy of the Belfast arms and several Irish emblems surmount the whole. It is not of the cases, however, but of their rich contents to which we invite the attention of our readers. All the designs of the jewellery exhibited were made at Mr. Gibson's manufactory in Belfast, and the work executed under his own supervision. Nothing has been copied from Germany, France, Italy, or any other nationality; and in this particular he is entitled to the great credit of having the most valuable collection of jewellery to be seen in the Exhibition. The refining processes are most carefully conducted, and the selections of precious stones made to correspond with the designs. His daisy hair-pins are choice 'morceaus', the leaves being upon delicate springs that yield to the slightest motion, and thus arranged give the pearl and diamond ornaments not only the appearance of great richness but a life-like naturalness, as if one gazed on a living flower bearing upon its leaves the precious stones as a native production. It is in such things as this that true art prevails. Mechanism is a sombre pounding out of designs; skill enables the mechanism to amplify, and taste to beautify with such elaboration as correct judgement always suggests. Mr. Gibson's display evidences a very refined taste, while every article will bear the closest scrutiny. Among others, his bracelets, ear-rings, finger-rings, chaplets and tiaras are most exquisite productions, calculated to attract attention and to win for him a well-earned renown at the International Exhibition.

A masterpiece of art and beauty, and the finest collection of precious stones on exhibition in one set of jewellery, is that of a pendant set containing large emeralds in the centre surrounded by diamonds. Separately, they are a breast-pin and ear-rings, and the whole form a tiara, being connected together in fleur-de-lis with diamonds. The largest emerald is about 1 1/8 inch in length by 1 inch in width, and the other two are somewhat smaller. The emeralds are the largest and finest we have ever seen in this country, and the diamonds are all faultless in colour and perfectly matched. At a low valuation the set is worth $20,000, and the largest emerald if lost could not be replaced for three times that amount.

Besides his richer jewellery, Mr. Gibson makes a fine display of Irish bog-oak jewellery, something of which we have seen very little in this country. The appearance is like jet, and there are, among others, many characteristic designs that can only be appreciated by those well acquainted with the Irish peculiarities. One small piece represents a man "wid a shillaly" who has just knocked down one man and is ready for another, while he says: "The man who speaks ill of his country deserves a fall ! " Then the eye lights, just at the right moment, upon the " Harp of Old Ireland," elegantly carved from the same bog oak. Then figures of birds, pipes, candelabras, snuff-boxes, &c. Another piece is that of Paddy driving his pig to Donnybrook fair ; and next we have the Irishman leaning upon his barrel of whisky, with the ready shillaly in one hand and a glass of mountain dew in the other. More characteristic and skilfully-arranged pictures–for such they really are, though all carved from the bog-oak–we do not remember to have seen.

Mr. Gibson is the manufacturer of a fine grade of stem-winding watches, which are much esteemed as accurate time -keepers. He has on exhibit a representation of the House of Parliament with the great clock over the main entrance. The latter is made of open brass work, so that all the movements are readily understood. The clock strikes the hours and chimes the quarters.


Source: The Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith - 5th September 1876

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:23 pm

THE ORIGIN OF THE BOG-OAK TRADE

The Irish bog-oak trade is of quite modern origin, having been introduced in a very limited way in the year 1840. The Lord Lieutenant of that time having given orders for some very trifling article, which, when executed, pleased him very much, was therefore induced to augment his previous commands, and had some bracelets, necklaces, brooches, and earrings made, which he presented to some high personage in England, who, like his Excellency, brought them into notoriety amongst her distinguished circle, and thereby established its character as an ornament of refined elegance. Under the patronage of such distinction it progressed until the Great Exhibition of 1851, where samples of a very beautiful kind had been sent for exhibition, which came under the notice of Her Majesty and her illustrious consort, who, during his life, had been a most liberal supporter of this Irish branch of artistic industry ; and when he visited this country in 1861, in company with her Majesty, I had the honour of waiting on them with samples, of which they purchased largely, as well as the Princess Alice, for whom I had to make some special articles of the ancient Celtic specimens, copied from examples of very remote origin, which are deposited at the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy. The bog-oak is popularly supposed to have been submerged in the bog, or peat, since the deluge ; when taken up it is perfectly black from the action of the peat or bog water. It is very rarely obtained in a sound state, and in most cases the outer portions of the tree or log are rotten, and useless even for fuel purposes. When laid up for use, care must be taken that it is not placed in the open air, lest it may, from the sun's rays, become open and shattered into chips from end to end. To preserve it, it must be put into some cool place, and left to dry gradually, and when properly seasoned, it must be cut in lengths of from two to four feet, and these lengths be split again and the sound parts removed from the unsound. It takes from four to six years to season some specimens, as in many instances the wood is found at a depth of eight, and sometimes ten feet under the surface. When properly seasoned, any portion requiring to be glued becomes bard as stone, and is firmer and less liable to give way than any portion of the manufactured article. The finish is not quite perfect until the article has been for some time in use, and the longer, the finer the article seems to be, no matter whether used as a personal or table ornament. The men employed are all, without exception, self-taught; each one makes his own tools, arid will not take any apprentices; and each person has a peculiar taste for a certain class of ornaments, which he follows, and to which he is left to produce the best specimens he can. There are also jewellers who mount and embellish the ornaments with gold and silver and with rare and most brilliant Irish gems, such as the Kerry Irish diamond, the emerald, the garnet, amethyst, beryl, aquamarine, and Donegal pebble. The Celtic ornaments are generally studded with the above native gems; they are beautiful, and most artistically executed. The designs] embrace some thousands, and all of them are both classic and historically illustrative'of Irish antiquities. Specimens were exhibited at the Paris Exhibition, British Section.–J. Goggin, in " Land and Water."


Source: Journal of Forestry and Estates Management - 1880

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:21 pm

E. O'LEARY & Co.

9a, Nassau Street, Dublin

Image
E. O'Leary & Co. - Dublin - 1892

Image
E. O'Leary & Co. - Dublin - 1895

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:34 am

H. MOORE

35, Market Street, Leicester


Image
H. Moore's - Leicester - 1868

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:59 am

Bog Oak, Spar Ornaments, Etc.

The famous Irish Bog Oak, Spar, and other distinctively National ornaments, are represented by a number of exhibitors, whose displays include ornaments for drawing-room and study, and for personal adornment and use. Mr. Myles Connolly, Dublin, exhibits brooches, bracelets, etc., in Bog Oak, Spar, and other minerals; pipes, walking sticks, etc., in Bog Oak, Irish diamonds, and a large collection of-table and chimney ornaments. Mr. Jeremiah Cremin, Killarney, is an extensive manufacturer of Arbutus and Bog Oak Ornaments, which find a ready sale amongst the visitors to "The Lakes," and for which Mr. Cremin has secured five prize medals at Exhibitions held in Dublin, Paris, London, Cork and New York. The exhibit includes writing desks, work-boxes, chess-boards, tables, cabinets, book-stands, brooches, bracelets, earrings, etc., made from Arbutus, Bog Oak, and other woods peculiar to Killarney, inlaid and carved by hand. Mr. J. Goggin, Dublin, is one of the most widely-known manufacturers of Bog Oak in Ireland, and has extended and established the trade in those ornaments to England, France and America. The collection at Mr. Goggin's stand in the Exhibition, is one of the most perfect in the Building, and the various ornaments displayed thereon are marvels of good taste and careful workmanship. Mrs. A. Murphy, Dublin, Mr. P. M'loughlin, Barracktown, Cork; Mr. D. O'Brien, Dublin, Mr. D. O'Connell, Killarney, And Mrs. J. O'Neill, Dublin, each display cases stocked with a large and varied collection of bog oak carvings, spar, etc. Ere quitting the subject of working in bog oak, it may be interesting to glance at the means by which this now extensive industry came into being. About 60 years ago, the late Countess of Kenmare suggested to Mr. J. Neatte, a cabinet maker at Killarney, that a ready sale might be found for fancy goods manufactured from the woods peculiar to the Lake district. The idea was adopted, the Countess supplying the necessary woods from her own demesne, and the patterns which were to guide the worker in his labours. For some time the Countess of Kenmare was the only customer for the manufactured ornaments, but the Earl of Mulgrave, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, having seen specimens of Mr. Neatt's skill purchased a set of library furniture from him. This had the effect of rendering the new material fashionable, and ensuring a ready sale and popularity which it rapidly acquired.


Source: Illustrated Guide to the Cork International Exhibition - H.C. Hartnell - 1883

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Sun May 31, 2015 9:38 am

A Listing of Bog Oak Manufacturers


Baldwin David - 47, Henry Street, Dublin
Cahoon Brothers - 16, Castle Place, Belfast
Connolly Myles - 18, Wellington Quay, Dublin
Goggin Cornelius - 13, Nassau Street, Dublin
Goggin Jeremiah - 79 Grafton Street, Dublin
Irvine & Co. - 25, William Street, Dublin
Johnson Joseph - 22, Suffolk Street, Dublin
Neill James & Co. - 14, Donegall Place, Belfast
Newman Mrs. Catherine - 57, South Great George's Street, Dublin
O'Leary & Co. - 140, St.Stephen's Green West, Dublin
Panton James & Co. - 25, St. Andrew Street, Dublin
Rosenstein Mrs. Phœbe - 16, Lower Sackville Street, Dublin

Source: Kelly's Directory of the Watch & Clock Trades - Kelly & Co. - 1880

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:08 pm

DAVID WIGHTMAN

8, Castle Street, Belfast


Noted as an exhibitor at the Royal Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887:

Image
David Wightman - Belfast - 1887

The 1901 Irish Census records David Wightman as 46 year-old Watchmaker born at Arbroath, Scotland. He is married to 45 year-old, Carrickfergus born, Janie. The couple reside with their eleven children at 36, Magdala Street, Belfast, which is described in the census as a private dwelling. The family's religion was recorded as Presbyterian.

David Wightman does not appear to be recorded in the 1911 Irish Census, but his wife, now recorded as Jane, is. She is recorded as 'Head of the Family', but described as 'Married', rather than 'Widow' suggesting that David was just absent on the night of the census. The family now reside at 112, Fitzroy Avenue, Belfast, which is described in the census as a private dwelling. This census records that the couple had been married for 31 years, had 17 children, of whom 10 were living.


David Wightman is recorded at 8, Castle Street, Belfast, in Kelly's Directory of the Watch & Clock Trades 1880

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:02 am

JAMES COAKLEY

4, Main Street, Killarney


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James Coakley - Killarney - 1896

James Coakley displayed his wares at the Cork Industrial Exhibition of 1883.

The 1901 Irish Census reveals James Coakley as a 79 year old, born in Killarney, Co Kerry. In the census he is described as a Shopkeeper, he is married, but Mrs Coakley was not in residence at the time of the census. He lives with his nephew, 30 year old, James Healy, who is described as a Smith. They reside at 32.1, Main Street, Killarney, and are recorded as Roman Catholics.

There appears to be no record of James Coakley in the 1911 Irish Census.

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:47 am

JOHN JACQUES

Royal Aquarium, Westminster, London


An advertisement from the Bradford Exhibition of 1882:

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J. Jacques - London - 1882


John Jacques also exhibited at the Cork Industrial Exhibition - 1883, where he showed the following:

1 Specimens of Art Carvings in Irish Bog Oak
2 Carved Jewel Casket in Bog Oak—design: National Emblems of Ireland
3 Model of the east side of North Cross, Clonmacnoise, King's Co.
4 Two Carved Book Slides, in Bog Oak
5 Ink Stand and Match Boxes
6 A Variety of Personal Ornaments in Bog Oak, mounted in silver and gold
7 Specimens of Irish Spar Jewellery

Jewellery, Bog Oak Carving, Spar Jewellery, Rings, Chains, &c., Gold and Silver Puzzle Rings, made at Stall.


Source: Official Catalogue - Cork Industrial Exhibition - 1883

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Re: The Bog-Oak Industry

Postby dognose » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:54 am

INGLIS & TINCKLER

7 & 8, Eustace Street, Dublin and The Irish Warehouse, 147, Regent Street, London


Image
Inglis & Tinckler - London - 1902

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