Welsbach aimed its Reflex line at the middle of the gas mantle market, priced below its Welco line but above its biggest selling models like the Number 4 mantle. Images in this catalog illustrate Welsbach's imagined consumers, including middle class white women using gas mantles to light mirrors in their boudoir, and saloon owners lighting pool halls with lamps hung above billiards tables.
In the 1880s, Austrian chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach (1858-1929) created fabric impregnated with thorium and cerium, which glowed incandescently when heated by burning gas. Mantels for gas lamps were the first industrial product to use rare earth elements, and led to an international trade in rare earth ores, especially monazite. Welsbach managed firms around the world that sold gas lamps for lighting streets, homes and businesses, which shaped the visual landscapes that millions of people inhabited from the 1890s into the 1930s.
In the United States, the Welsbach Incandescent Gas Lighting Company had offices on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, and a factory on the Delaware River at Gloucester, New Jersey. Many of the factory workers were women, who sewed the fabric mantels and packed the mantels into packages for sale across the country.
|Creator of work
|Public Domain Mark 1.0
Previous image shift + or , Next image shift + or . Pan image Zoom in + or shift + Zoom out - or shift + Zoom to fit 0 Close viewer esc Also
Mouse click to zoom in; shift-click to zoom out. Drag to pan. Pinch to zoom on touch.