Flatters and Garnett Ltd. Microscopy and Organic Suppliers 1901-1967

I used to be shocked once I was wanting up what had occurred to Flatters & Garnett, the Manchester organic provides agency that geared up college and elementary laboratories, in addition to beginner microscopists, entomologists and botanists, within the first seven many years of the twentieth century. I believed they will need to have been taken over as laboratory provide firms consolidated by mergers and takeovers. I used to be improper. Flatters & Garnett went into liquidation in 1967 after what the Science Museum web site described as ‘monetary issues’.

Abraham Flatters (see my earlier article right here) was joined by Charles Garnett to kind their partnership in 1901. The Garnett household after ‘a critical rift’ purchased out Flatters in 1909 so Flatters & Garnett whereas retaining the identify continued with out Flatters.

Sadly, the Science Museum’s web site doesn’t state the sources of its data on Flatters & Garnett. Due to this fact I’ll attempt to flesh out a number of the data offered.

Charles Garnett was born on 30 Might 1842 at Latchford close to Warrington, Cheshire, the son of a blacksmith. In response to the Science Museum he grew to become apprenticed to a grocer ‘however, on the age of 21, emigrated to New Zealand. There, he grew to become all in favour of pure historical past and made a set of the ferns discovered on South Island. In 1873, he returned to Manchester and opened a restaurant in Cateaton Avenue’. Nonetheless, within the 1881 Census he’s proven as a confectioner using 3 women and 1 boy. The identical occupation is proven in 1891. Solely in 1901 is he proven as ‘confectioner and restaurant keeper’. He had married in January 1876 in Manchester; his spouse was born in Adelaide, South Australia. By 1911 he’s simply ‘confectioner’; there isn’t a point out of his involvement with Flatters & Garnett. Additionally current have been his spouse, a son (a jeweller), his brother (retired blacksmith) and two servants. Charles Garnett died on 12 January 1921. He left £12,042 His executor was his son, John Benbow Garnett who was carefully concerned in Flatters & Garnett from the beginning.

John Benbow Garnett was born on 4 February 1877. He was educated at Ackworth, a Quaker college. Within the 1901 Census he was dwelling at dwelling along with his occupation proven as ‘pharmaceutical chemist’. He then joined Flatters in Flatters & Garnett and my guess is that his father offered the cash whereas John labored with Flatters within the enterprise. Within the 1911 Census, John described himself as a ‘preparer of pure historical past objects and lantern slides’ work that was additionally being executed by Flatters. Was it a conflict between John and Abraham Flatters that led to the latter’s departure.

Ads from Flatters & Garnett in its first ten years present an emphasis first on the pharmacy and photographic actions. An commercial ran within the Manchester Metropolis Information (this one is from 1902) quickly after Flatters & Garnett was based:

Flatters & Garnett Ltd. Shelling out & Photographic Chemists, make a speciality of shelling out physicians’ prescriptions. “Neroline,” an emollient cream for chapped palms, 1s. and 1s.9Id. per bottle.-.48, Deansgate (one door from Blackfriars-st.).

By 1910, commercials have been showing which emphasised a specific side of the enterprise however by this time the pharmacy was not being talked about.

Flatters & Garnett Ltd. Specialists in Photographic Work. 32 Dover Avenue (near the College) Manchester S.E. Ship for revised Worth Record, simply issued. Creating Printing Enlarging. N.B.-No reference to another agency.

This was in Manchester Metropolis Information of 28 Might 1910. The no reference to another agency was in fact to Abraham Flatters’s breakaway firm that was topic to profitable authorized motion by Flatters & Garnett in the identical 12 months.

The wording on 31 December 1910 was:

Lantern Slides. Massive inventory on the market or rent, or made to order from negatives, prints, drawings &c by specialists.

For microscopy, this one appeared on 22 October 1910:

Microscopes, slides and equipment, for textile and different fibre examination, for critical work or recreation

By the point of the 1921 Census, John Benbow Garnett described himself as a pharmacist and Managing Director of Flatters & Garnett Ltd, scientific instrument makers. He led the enlargement of the corporate and its institution as a number one participant in organic provides.

That is from the Science Museum’s web site:

Flatters and Garnett Ltd moved in 1913 to bigger premises at 309 Oxford Highway, reverse the College. A couple of 12 months later, the corporate developed Mersol, an immersion oil to be used with excessive energy microscope targets which grew to become very talked-about and offered effectively for a few years.

Flatters & Garnett Ltd expanded its enterprise steadily through the Twenties. The corporate elevated the vary of devices it produced, together with dissecting microscopes and the Precision microprojector. The corporate gained a status for producing well-designed, dependable devices and offered its merchandise all around the world. In 1932, the agency acquired a big Victorian home on Wynnstay Grove in Fallowfield the place it moved the microslide, specimen, photographic and chemical departments. Right here the employees might have extra space and fewer disturbance from noise and filth than on Oxford Highway. In 1950, the corporate launched the Mikrops industrial projector. This changed the microscope for routine examination in lots of laboratories.

On 1 January 1938, Nature contained the next report:

A critical fireplace occurred on Sunday morning, December 19, on the laboratories of Messrs. Flatters and Garnett, Ltd., the well-known Manchester agency of microscopists. The chemical and microscopical laboratories have been utterly burnt out, however a substantial variety of mounted slides have been saved. The photographic and lantern slide division was solely barely concerned and the brand new instrument workshop, for manufacturing microscopes, micro-projectors, and many others., escaped fully. All of the employees is being retained, and work has already been resumed in short-term laboratories. Shares of a lot of the agency’s chemical specialities are held on the head workplace, 309 Oxford Highway, Manchester, 13, which is 2 miles from the laboratories. 

Microscope Slide Label

The corporate continued to exhibit on the Manchester Microscopical Society. In 1949, for instance, they demonstrated the ‘newest advances in microscopy’ on the annual public exhibition.

It appears probably that at a while John Benbow Garnett handed over the reins to his son, Wilfred John. On a sea journey to Australia in 1958-59 John Benbow is described as ‘microscopist’ which supplies no actual indication of whether or not he had retired or not.

John Benbow Garnett died on 10 January 1973, leaving £26,600. He had been dwelling close to Coleraine in Northern Eire.

Wilfred John Garnett was born on 16 July 1914. Within the 1939 Register, the emergency census, he was dwelling at dwelling and described as ‘Diploma Biologist, Director of Laboratory’. It was Wilfred John who signed on 22 June the formal discover to wind up the corporate and to nominate liquidators:

…on Wednesday, the 14th day of June 1967, the next Extraordinary Decision was duly handed: “That it has been proved to the satisfaction of this Assembly that the Firm can not by purpose of its liabilities, proceed its enterprise, and that it’s advisable to wind up the identical and that the Firm be wound up voluntarily…”

I ponder what had gone improper. 

However that was not fairly the tip of the merchandise. ‘A 1970 report of the Scottish Training Division on the college biology curriculum, said: The transparencies of Marine Life taken by Dr. D.P. Wilson which have been obtainable from Flatters and Garnett can now be bought via W.J. Garnett, Breezemount, Ringrash, Macosquin, Coleraine, N.Eire’. The tackle given was that occupied by Wilfred’s father on the time of his dying.

Wilfred John Garnett died on 13 June 1988 in Bristol.

Flatters & Garnett Ltd produced a lot of catalogues all through its existence. A quantity coated particular merchandise, like stains or ready microscope slides. The extent of their lantern slides shares will be discovered within the catalogue which will be seen on-line right here. The Second World Warfare clearly left the corporate in some problem. Properly into the Fifties the principle catalogues had not been reprinted and an Interim Worth Record was revealed in 1951 and reprinted in 1954. Even then costs weren’t given; an accompanying leaflet did that.

As effectively promoting as their very own merchandise, F&G have been brokers for Baker, Beck, Prior, Swift and Watson microscopes, for instance.

The Science Museum in London incorporates various gadgets made by Flatters & Garnett; see right here.

Does any of the tools and specimens equipped by Flatters & Garnett nonetheless survive in British faculties? Microscope slides ought to have however I doubt they’ve. Do beginner entomologists nonetheless have F&G gadgets nonetheless in use? Objects do discover their approach onto eBay and into public sale homes the place the descriptions can present nice amusement. For instance, a dissection package is described as a ‘discipline surgical package’ or a vasculum for botanists as a ‘metallic satchel’. Amongst various cut-throat razors is one purportedly by Flatters & Garnett. I itch to inform the seller that the F&G model was certainly a lower throat razor however just one aspect of the blade was hollow-ground (i.e. concave). Attempt shaving with a razor designed to chop sections of plant stems and the like by hand.

Flatters & Garnett Projection Microscope
From Micscape Journal June 2002
see Microscopy-UK web site
I’ve seen certainly one of these mendacity round however
I can not keep in mind the place

A Flatters & Garnett microscope for
sale on eBay at current

1954 reprint of 1951 catalogue

Microscope slide cupboard

Vasculum for plant collectors – to maintain specimens
recent. Utterly changed by the polythene bag

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *