Showing posts from September, 2013

Mackenzie & Moncur Vault Light in Edinburgh

Mackenzie & Moncur Ltd, founded around 1850, manufactured and constructed hothouses in Scotland and part of England. They also specialized in the manufacture of pavement lights.

Haywards Vault Light in Edinburgh

In 1848, Hayward Brothers was established. Their main products were ironwork: ranges, stoves, coal plates, circular and spiral staircases, and ventilators. Shortly after 1857, they started to produce iron pavement lights glazed with rough cast glass. And in 1871 one of the brother’s patents, “Improvements in Pavement Lighting,” brought about a significant improvement to the product.

“Before then, lighting basements had been problematic. Open gratings let in light, but were open to the weather as well, and hard to stand and walk on; slab glass in iron frames was better, but admitted only a small amount of useful light; triangular glasses had been tried, but were not well designed, and threw most of the incident light back out again. Edward's idea was to split the triangular light in half: now the rays of light entering the top were throw horizontally into the space below, lighting areas deep inside.”

 Images taken from Glassian

Vault Light in Lviv

I have only come across one of these in Lviv. I had no idea what it was until I saw similar panels in Edinburgh and Tallinn and turned to the Internet for help. It turns out it is a vault light to illuminate the basement.

I found a good description on the Glassian website: “Vault Lights, also known as Sidewalk Lights (or Pavement Lights in the UK), are those old glass prisms set into sidewalks to let light into vaults and basements below. Prisms were used instead of flat glass to disperse the light, diffusing it over a large area; plain flat glass would simply form a bright spot on the floor below, not providing much useful general lighting. 

“The idea originated in the 1840s as deck lights. They were used on ships to let light below-decks… The idea caught on; by the late 19th century they were common in the larger downtowns, especially New York. Their use declined as electric light became cheaper and better, and by the 1930s were on their way out. Now, they are endangered relics.”

Swedish Manhole Cover in Riga

In Riga I found a manhole cover dating from 1901. Upon researching it later, I realized it was made by the Swedish company called Stockholms Allmänna Telefonaktiebolag

Sweden’s first telecom operating company (founded in 1883), Stockholms Allmänna Telefonaktiebolaget (Stockholm General Telephone Company) (SAT) installed and operated telephone equipment. The company had a long-term partnership with LM Ericsson & Co., finally merging with the company in 1918.
I was curious why a Swedish-made manhole cover would have been installed in Riga in 1901, as Latvia was then under Russian rule. But I read that at that time the company Ericsson had many contacts with Russia, and in the late 1800s was delivering telephone exchanges to Russia. The first telephone exchange was installed in Kyiv in 1893 and was followed by Kharkiv (1896), Rostov (1897), and Riga, Kazan and Tbilisi (1900).

Pre-Russian Revolution Roller Shutter in Tallinn

In Tallinn, I found an old metal roller shutter with a Russian inscription. Estonia was part of the Russian Empire until 1917 and so the shutter dates to before the Russian Revolution.

From an issue of the newspaper Сибирскій листокъ, dated April 10, 1905, there is an advertisement for Штори (draperies) made by the company ,,Тильманское Желѣзодѣлательное Акцiонерное (анонимное) Общество” въ Прушковъ, which means Tilman Ironworks Joint Stock Company in Pruszków. Pruszków is a town outside of Warsaw. This part of Poland was also under the Russian Empire at that time.

Note: the Russian orthography used on the shutter and in the newspaper is from before the last major Reform in Russian spelling (1917), as can be seen with the use of the letters і, ѣ, ъ.

150-Year-Old Iron Gate in Tallinn

An old iron gate in Tallinn. The inscription says "W. Paech in Reval 1868." Reval was the old name for Tallinn, in use from the 13th century until 1917.  Estonia was part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century; however, Baltic Germans made up the majority of the city's residents (and made up most of the upper and higher middle classes), so it's not surprising to see German in Tallinn.

Ghost Signs in Tallinn

This ghost sign I saw through the window of my hostel room. It is on an former furniture factory in a courtyard. The sign says “Mööblitööstus,” which is Estonian for “furniture manufacture.”
Two restored hand-painted signs from when this building used to house a pharmacy and a gallery. Now it is a consulate of the Russian Embassy.

Ghost Signs in Riga

Ģipša Fabrika (Gypsym Factory) is located on the island of Kipsala, a former fishermen’s village. This 19th century brick building used to be a plaster factory. Now it is part of a luxury apartment complex.

Somewhere in the Old Town
These two signs are on a building on Albert Street, a street famous for its Art Nouveu buildings
My best guess is that this says “tapezierer,” which seems to be a German word meaning upholsterer, decorator, or paperhanger.
Seems to say something like “un Deguretais,” whatever that could mean...