Labeled: Henry N. Hooper & Co. (active 1832-1868)

Boston, 1835-1845

The foliate canopy above four pendant patinated rods supporting a circular cast foliate ring with four satellite extension rings holding sinumbra fonts with a fifth font suspended directly below the primary ring. Each burner tube bearing a label: MANUFACTURED BY/ H.N. HOOPER & CO./ BOSTON.

H: 48″ Diameter: 44ΒΌ”

CONDITION: Excellent: The brass surface has been restored to its original patinated and two-tone appearance and the fonts have been repainted to appear as original. The glass shades and chimneys are replacements.  Electrified.

In his book 19th Century Elegant Lighting, Gerald T. Gowitt says, ” Henry Northey Hooper (1799-1865), of Boston, Massachusetts was already winning awards for metal work in 1817 at the age of eighteen years.  He won a gold metal for his exhibit of lamps listed in the catalogue of the Massachusetts Mechanics’ Association First Exhibition and Fair.

Hooper is first listed in the Boston City Directory in 1823 as a mathematical instrument maker; the address is Drawbridge 48 Ann. The 1828 city directory finds Hooper a Boston Copper Company agent and two years later he is described as a “successor” to the late Company.

In 1832, he formed a partnership with William Blake and Thomas Richardson, known as Henry N. Hooper and Company. The firm specialized in metal castings and offered a wide variety of lighting devises, including Argand and sinumbra lamps and later, solar lamps and gasoliers.”[1]

The Company is known to have produced catalogues in 1850 and 1858. Because no sinumbra or Argand lamps are listed or pictured in the 1850 catalogue, it would appear that Argand and sinumbra technology had been entirely supplanted by Solar and gas fixtures by that date.  Candlesticks and candelabra continue to be featured as well.

Sinumbra lamps use Argand burners patented in England by Ami Argand in 1784, and differ from Argand lamps only in the design of the oil font, which is in the form of a flatted doughnut encircling the burner rather than off to one side.  This improvement largely eliminated the shadow cast by the font when the lamp was lighted.

Simunbra Chandelier 03 BY 1200Simunbra Chandelier 04 BY 1200Simunbra Chandelier 02 BY 1200Simunbra Chandelier 01 BY 1200Simunbra Chandelier 05 1200L-JWM-Sinumbra Chandelier 08 1200L-JWM-Sinumbra Chandelier 07 1200L-JWM-Sinumbra Chandelier 06 1200L-JWM-Sinumbra Chandelier 10 1200

The present chandelier could replace a fixture burning about 40 candles and may be the only known American made, labeled, example of a multi-burner Sinumbra chandelier.[2]


[1] Gerald T. Gowitt, 19th Century Elegant Lighting: Argand, Sinumbra and Solar Lamps (Atglen: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2002), 24.

[2] English examples of 8 and 12 burner Sinumbra chandeliers are known, including one in St. Luke’s church in Granville, Ohio, and one in the collection of Dan Mattausch.  The Victoria & Albert Museum in London holds a print of a multi-burner hanging Sinumbra published about 1830 by Perry & Co. London, successors to Parker & Perry, established by William Parker, among the earliest proponents of Argand lighting in England.  http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O591617/design-for-a-perry-co/

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