A very rare piece of silver plate indeed, and highly sought-after, these are rarely found. This is a miniature of a Staniforth's Patent Biscuit Box or Warmer in the form of a table cigar lighter.
The only other I have seen in the past was wider and it was thought that the interior was made to accommodate cigars, so a cigar box or case as well. This one is narrower and I am unsure if it was to accommodate shorter cigars or cheroots or whether the interior would have been used as a double ashtray while open. The internal width of this one is 4".
One end of the frame is the fuel chamber, the top unscrews and fuel would have been poured into the column soaking the wick. The wick has a cover on a chain which hangs by the side while it was in action. The other column accommodates the lighter wand which would have had a piece of combustible material in the end and lit from the flame and then used to light ones cigar.
The front of the piece is engraved with the Naval Crown, made up of alternate sterns and topsails of ship, underneath the date 1st June 1900 is engraved clearly in commemoration of the The Glorious First of June, (also known in France as the Bataille du 13 prairial an 2 or Combat de Prairial) of 1794 which was the first and largest fleet action of the naval conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the First French Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars.
It is likely that this was commissioned for a regimental dinner and each guest would perhaps had one presented. The underside is signed by the silversmith, Fenton Brothers of Sheffield.
All in splendid condition and a wonderful addition to any collection. Victorian in era. The footprint measuring 6 1/4" x 2 3/4" x 6" tall.
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