Design Registrations are found on many kinds of wares from 1842 onwards, initially in the form of a somewhat cryptic lozenge pattern from 1884 an easier to understand simple number system was introduced. These are colloquially called "rd numbers" the full title is 'Registered Design... number XXXX' and RD stands for registered design. The most familiar form is 'Rd. No. XXXX', 'Reg. No.' or even 'Regd. No.' are occasionally seen and there are other variations but all incorporate the letters r and d or full word registered with the number.
Something in the region of 100,000 different tile designs were produced in the period from around 1860 to around 1910 of these just a few thousand were registered. Most companies were erratic with respect to registering designs often registering a batch soon after start up and then sporadically. Companies who more consistently registered designs did so only for a proportion of their wares presumably those they considered most innovative and most likely to be popular and therefore copied.
Many known registered designs occur with some regularity but others are rare. The really bold designs would have not sold in large volumes as their statements were too strong for the mass market but on the other hand some designs would not have sold well simply because the designer or company got it wrong. Popularity is no measure of whether a design is good in the broader sense rather an indicator of whether it gelled with the buying public of the time and was affordable, available and the other criteria that make up buying decisions.
The service costs £3 and provides:
1) Name of whom the design was registered to and their
address; or who manufactured the tile.
Simply click this link, click the buy now button and enter the number in the notes on the payment form.
With great thanks to Peter Clegg we can provide a look up service for design registration numbers found on tiles from 1884 - 1909. The most complete list of tile design registrations known it numbers in excess of two thousand five hundred records and is believed to represent over 90% of the tile designs registered in the period.
This is supplemented with earlier registrations recorded by J P Cushion and from our own research and other sources. For the vast majority we will give the precise date of registration and to whom the design was registered, for a few designs we may only be able to give dates approximate to within usually a couple of weeks and the manufacturer who made the tile.
Registration numbers always have the prefix 'RD' (or 'Rd'), numbers with other prefixes are not design registration numbers. They will be printed, embossed or occasionally rubber stamped, hand written numbers are usually pattern numbers.
A few errors have been noted with registrations, these may be clerical errors at the patent office or more likely printers and decorators errors on printed tiles and toolsetters errors on embossed tiles. An attempt to check veracity can be made if you can send us images. We can look up partial registration numbers but images are then more important, images of the front of the tile, verso and registration number can assist.
We have registrations from number 344 from January 1884 to 584,848 in September 1909 therefore encompassing much of the 'aesthetic period' and most of the 'art nouveau period'.We also have several hundred predating 1884 with the older lozenge style mark and a few post 1909, a period when the number of design registrations declined dramatically after the peak of art nouveau and when plain tiling schemes became increasingly popular.
Peter Clegg collected the bulk of the data in thousands of hours scouring through the records at the Public Records Office in Kew. Registration details are essentially held in two sets of ledgers, the first lists the registration details - date and name & address of the company or person registering the design (usually but not always the manufacturer/decorator) etc. for a particular class, the second contains a representation of the design. These are not organised by class but collected everything as it arrived so there are photos of bars of soap next to engineering drawings next to pieces of fabric and so forth. Transfer tiles were usually submitted as a straight print of the design; moulded tiles could be a line drawing, a watercolour, or a photograph. The 2 ledgers are cross referenced by the registration number.
Peter went through tens of thousands of representation ledgers and every time something was found that looked like a tile cross referred to the registration details ledger for the relevant information. Only three ledgers could be drawn from the repository at any time so it was a very painstaking process.
Images sent to us may be used by us for research purposes and shared with other researchers but will not be used in any publically available document or other form without the copyright holder's permission.
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