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Brass with green enamel inlay box

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Tobacciana2024 of 3029Brunswick BowlArt glass ashtray
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Posted 4 years ago


(51 items)

Here is a nice little box I picked up for a few £'s. I now use it for safely keeping my spare dip pen nibs and pencil leads etc. It is 4 1/2" x 3" x 2" and lined with cedarwood. The quality of the box is really quite nice, the inlay a little damaged in places, but does not detract. It is quite heavy in guage.

Inside the lid, is what caught my eye; engraved is: "HADFIELDS" "Makers of Fine Varnishes since 1840". This engraving is not to the same high level of workmanship as the box itself.

UNKNOWN: I know nothing about the box and wonder as to it's original purpose in life. Perhaps a promotional trade gift, but what date? I would love to know the approximate age of this piece. With the Cedar lining I'm wondering if this has something to do with storing cigars (small), cigarettes or tobacco?

KNOWN: I have researched the engraved motto, and the only information I have so far found is held in the Surrey History Centre archives; An extract:

"Hadfields (Merton) Ltd. were formed in 1917 to act as manufacturers of and dealers in varnish, japans, enamels, colours, oils, paints, pigments, cements, dye wares and other such, and particularly to acquire the businesses of varnish, paint and enamel manufacturers carried on under the name of George Hadfield, Phipps Bridge, Merton and George Hadfield. These businesses were conveyed to the company by George Hugh Hadfield and Samuel Rogers Hadfield, both of whom were directors. The Merton company claimed to have been trading since 1840 (letterhead seen at the depositor's office), and it appears that George Hadfield, father of George Hugh and Samuel Rogers, had purchased Paul Addington's varnish works at Phipps Bridge in 1892. Addington was certainly already working there in 1851."

COMMENT: The above dates cover 1840 to 1917 (when Co. formed), but I feel this box must be post 1917..................

Mystery Solved


  1. Hems303 Hems303, 4 years ago
    Thanks for the "Love it's" to miKKoChristmas11, officialfuel, AmberRose, Walksoftly, mustangtony, toolate2, AR8Jason and vetraio50!

  2. Hems303 Hems303, 4 years ago
    Hi if you are Joe Hadfield-Smith and left me a message about the history of this "family" piece: I'm afraid your question/comment got deleted because you made offer to purchase. If you want just info you will have to email me using the email address in my Collectors Weekly Profile.
  3. hadfield, 4 years ago

    This is Joe Hadfield-Smith, the person who was inquiring about your piece. I would really like to talk to you about it but I can't figure out how to email you directly from this site. My great-grandfather started the business that this came from and I would love to find out more about it. What would be the best way to get a hold of you?

    Thank you,

  4. Hems303 Hems303, 4 years ago
    Hi Joe
    I've tried to reply but no email... use mine at
  5. Hems303 Hems303, 2 years ago
    I have been in touch with the great grandson of the founder of this company (now defunct). He has collated a lot of the family/company history and is preserving it for the future. This box would have been a trade gift or "sweetener". It is a cigarette "humidor" or desk box. and was engraved for the company and given out in the 60's or 70's by a company sales representative to an important retailer for stocking Hadfield Co. paints and varnishes, or if they didn't; as a "reminder" that they really should!
  6. Hems303 Hems303, 2 years ago
    As an professional artist involved in commercial art and design as well as fine art, I have always been interested in corporate identity, branding and company logo's etc. This is what first attracted me to the name engraved inside the box lid. HADFIELD Paint & Varnish Co. had an important role in their VERY early use (1970's) of "Dynamic Branding" i.e. in their use of the changing fox logo (way before Google used their daily changing logo's which is a modern and very good example of dynamic branding).

    Below are a couple of links that explain the importance of the Hadfield (logo) branding campaign. If interested in this, they give better insight into the Hadfield Company from a Art & Design point of view. The links are a bit involved but maybe worth reading carefully but only regarding Hadfield Company and their historical use of "Dynamic Branding".

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