Belgian Ship Lamp manufacturers
Tavernier Oostende was the largest manufacturer of ship lights.
The history is well kept because of a story from J.B. Dreessen in 1983 about the company history.
D. Desmedt Baasrode
D. Desmedt was a copper-smith in Baasrode who also manufactured ship lamps. Nothing is known online about the history of this company, but I hope to change this in the future. D. Desmedt has mainly produced 360-degree globe lamps; these are still very popular, especially by the residents of Baasrode.
Possible lantern marks are: Petrollantaarn Voor Schippers, Brevette, D. Desmedt, Koper Slager and
Charles Tavernier founded Tavernier Oostende in 1888. He decided to do so after he lost his job at the tinsmith Declerck in Brugge. He wanted to avoid competing with his previous employer. Thus he moved to Ostend.
He started with a small shop in de Dwarsstraat but moved after a short time to Sint-Franciscusstraat 12. Charles worked in the basement where his tinsmith was located while his wife worked at the shop. They manufactured and restored everything that was made of tin. Such as toys, kettles, and pots.
They stayed in business until 1925-1926, when they handed over the company to their son Jerome Tavernier, one of their seven children.
Jerome stayed in the Sint-Franciscusstraat but built a larger tinsmith behind the house. Although the tinsmith business declined sharply over the years, Jerome was prepared as he transformed the company into a coppersmith's shop. At this time, he was also manufacturing equipment for the fishermen.
Advertisement of a ship lantern, published in a newspaper in 1933.
A new port opened in 1934 in the Vuurtorenwijk. Thus Jerome opened a second workshop in this area at the corner of Victorialaan and Fortstraat.
He focussed on ship lights due to the upcoming motor vessels and the changed regulations. The shop on Sint-Franciscusstraat also stayed in business for household items. The business went well due to a demanding fishery business until the start of WWII. Ostend was one of the many targets inevitably destroyed in the war, the Vuurtorenwijk was utterly destroyed, and the fire damaged the shop at the Sint-Franciscusstraat terribly. Luckily for Jerome, the workplace was still intact.
They eventually rented a store at the Nieuwpoortsesteenweg to turn into a shop. They focused on restoring household items during WWII. After the war, the fishery industry again started to flourish. Jerome began a shop and workshop at the Hendrik Baelskaai 8; again, he started with the production of ship lanterns.
The store at the Nieuwpoortsesteenweg stayed active, and the business was growing again. Eventually, they expanded with two shops at the Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 82 and 84, in which they sold a lot of stoves. Their son Charles also started working in the company. Hence ship lamps can be found marked: J. Tavernier en zoon.
The son Charles Tavernier and his wife, Irma Devos, eventually took over the business as the third generation in 1959/1960. They kept developing the company on ship lanterns. Jerome Tavernier stopped working in the workshop but did the bookkeeping for his son until 1981; he stopped when he was 87. At this time, the business became tougher due to the arrival of plastic ship lamps.
At this time, the business became more complicated with the arrival of plastic ship lamps. Tavernier was in business until at least 1983, but I'm yet wondering when it closed.
A family of ship's lanterns: De Taverniers by J.B. Dreessen
The story of J.B. Dreessen about Tavernier provides an excellent and detailed overview of the production and inspection of the ship's lamp in 1983.
" Ship lanterns are not fashion objects; they are made according to the regulations of the Sea Collision Regulations. These regulations prescribe minimum visibility, an angle at which a particular light must be visible, and a color. Based on this information, the ship's lantern maker gets to work. As a material, he uses, at least for the time being, sheet copper and brass of 7/10 mm. He obtains the glasses, which actually are lenses from Germany*.
They must comply with the regulations of the I.M.C.O., the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization, and be approved by the services of this institution. He processes the data and material into a model lantern with the necessary professional knowledge. With this, he goes to the shipping inspectorate, belonging to the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Inland Navigation, which carries out the first inspection.
He then takes his lantern to a company that specializes in optical measurements. This is currently Laborelec in Sint-Genesius-Rode. Here lanterns are tested for the minimum light intensity, color, and the angle at which the light is visible. Suppose the results of these investigations meet the legal requirements. In that case, the lantern is accepted as a prototype. Its manufacturer is authorized to make and sell this model, provided that the delivered product conforms to the prototype. The numbered and marked prototype will be placed permanently in the Atelier.
He makes a prototype of every type of ship's lantern in different sizes. When our ship lantern maker receives an order, he makes the lanterns to the requested size according to the prototype's specifications. As soon as the lanterns are ready, he asks the Maritime Inspectorate again. They check the finished lanterns for conformity with the prototype and the solidity of the workmanship. The lanterns are ready for delivery after a number is stamped on each lantern and a certificate of 'Inspection of a Ship's lantern' is drawn up. "
* GGG, Genthe Glass Goslar
I could provide you this article partly thanks to the following sources:
A family of ship's lanterns: De Taverniers, J.B. Dreessen
Advertise Tavernier, deplate.be