A single-sided tin lithograph tip tray. This circular green plate features a scene of a seated woman reading a newspaper with a child playing at her feet. The child has spelled out "WELSBACH" using toys on the floor. A ceiling lamp shines from above the woman's head. Around the border of the tray is printed "Welsbach Assures Dependable Lighting Service" with two lamps depicted on opposite sides. A seal at the top reads "Welsbach/Our Trademark/On Every Box".
Tip trays were typically small, approximately 4” plates used in bars and restaurants for waiters and waitresses to place customers' change at the end of the transaction.
From 1888 to 1940, the Welsbach Gas Light Company held exclusive manufacturing and sales rights to the Welsbach gas mantle, a device made of fibers impregnated with oxides of thorium and cerium that produced bright white light when heated with a gas flame. Invented in the 1880s by Austrian scientist Carl Auer Von Welsbach (1858-1929), these gas mantles were used extensively in street lighting and in gas-powered appliances. The Welsbach gas mantle also was the first industrial product to make use of rare earth elements. At peak production, the Welsbach factory employed 2,000 people, including a large number of women skilled at the sewing and other precision handwork involved in the manufacturing process.
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