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12 Catalogue by Heath & Co.

image of Catalogue by Heath & Co.

I have always collected catalogues, trade cards and any information on scientific instruments because, as an antique scientific instrument dealer, I need to be able to inform my customers of the history, maker and background information of any instrument I am selling. 

Customers are always interested in names, dates, purpose and usage of the instrument, the materials from which the instrument is made and its original selling price. The collection I have made over the last 35 years has been invaluable to me.

Collection: Victor Burness, antiques dealer, Kent

The firm of Heath & Co were founded 1845 and used the trade name Hezzanith on many of their instruments. This “20th Century” catalogue repeatedly emphasises that “The Trade Mark ‘Hezzanith’ is a Guarantee of Quality”. However, when describing thermometers here they also prudently noted that the customers name can be put in place of the trademark if required.

The company specialised in nautical and surveying instruments and its breadth of production was advertised in 7 different catalogues. This is number 5 in the range, showing their diversification into meteorology.

The title page illustrates not their London showroom but the Observatory Works, their factory in Crayford, Kent. It shows the layout of the site and helpfully identifies the various buildings. It also includes the railway line passing right in front of the perimeter, suggesting the importance of local infrastructure to industrial development.

While now treated as ephemeral literature and usually represented only very patchily in library holdings, such trade catalogues are vitally useful in documenting manufacture as well as a company’s product range.


Objects lent by Victor Burness, Kent:

06. J.H Steward Military Instruments catalogue, 1930s?

07. W.F. Stanley Catalogue "G", Surveying and Drawing, 1903

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