July 23, 2011

UK, 1834: Griffin's Catalogue, Hawkin's Pens (Iridium Tips)


1834: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (London mkt) = £0.96 = 21.9166 руб.

1835: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (UK: mfg, retail) = £ 1.70 (USD$ 8.25)

1835: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (UK: refined, whols.-retail) = £ 1.60 (USD$ 7.76)
1835: 1 Troy Oz. platina (ore, retail) = £ 0.90 (USD$ 4.37)
 1835: 1 Troy Oz. platina (ore, whols.) = £ 0.55 (USD$ 2.50)
Citation: Chemical recreations: a compendium of experimental chemistry ; John Joseph Griffin (7th Ed., 1834)


 At the 1833 Silver Rate

Apparently current textbook (1834), citing a 'Platinum ducat of 10 Roubles' worth £ 2.25
1 руб Ag = £ 0.2250 and 3 руб Ag = £ 0.6750 or 

1833: 1 Ozt. Platinum (Russian Coin) = 8.99 руб Ag = £ 2.02 (USD$ 9.71)

This is problematic, for the Silver Rouble was only rated $ 0.75, or ~USD$ 6.74/Ozt.
  Citation: A manual of mineralogy: comprehending the more recent discoveries... Robert Allan (1834) p.247

John Isaac Hawkins used native osmium/iridium alloy (40-50% osmium, 30-40% iridium, with some ruthenium & platinum) soldered to tips of gold nibs. He also developed the high-speed grinding and polishing process for this very hard alloy, necessary to shape the tip profile.

In 1834, Hawkins' Iridosmine tipped nibs first sold in London for £ 1.05 (USD$ 4.34) and that price was apparently stable until ~1845.  At this time, Johnson had an effective monopoly on all PGMs. Presumably, less than one Ounce Troy afforded ~36 pen nibs.

1834: 1 Ozt. Iridosmine (Select Ore) = £ 1.50 (USD$ 6.30)
In the early stage of the business, namely in March, 1834, Mr. Hawkins says, "I procured the native alloy of Iridium from Mr. Johnson of Hatton Garden, London,who allowed me to select from his small stock of a few ounces such particles as suited my purpose, at thirty shillings an ounce. Mr. Johnson continued to supply me at that price till July, 1835, when I had picked out all that would suit, and he said that he did not expect any more for some time. I had then only enough to make three dozen Pens, and knew not where to procure more. I, therefore, went to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which met at Dublin on the 10th of August, 1835, to inquire of the great Chemists of the time, expected to be there assembled, where I could be supplied with the precious material. On asking Dr. Dalton of Manchester, Dr. Thomas of Glasgow, [sic; Dr. Thomson correctly], Dr. Daubeny of Oxford, and many other eminent Chemists, present at the meeting,where I could procure the substance, each, without communicating with any of the others, answered that I could obtain it of Mr. Johnson, Hatton Garden, London." (63)


As recorded in 1850:

Franklin Peale visited Europe in 1834-5; these pens were exhibited at the Franklin Institute in 1837 were ~5 years old, after "four years constant use." 

Thirty years prior to early 1876 was c.1849; at that time, the manufactured Iridium pen nib fell -75%.  Although different catalogue retailers prices varied from 1834-1847, the retail Iridium price apparently fell ~ -80.9%.

In this period, the price of Platinum also collapsed.

1834:  1 Ozt. Iridium (pure, semi-mfg, mkt) = Fr 488. (£ 19.18)
1847:  1 Ozt. Iridium (pure, semi-mfg, mkt) = Fr 93.30 (£  3.656)

The entire pen cost USD$ 1. in 1906, just abit more more than 5s.

Counterfeit Francs  

Described in French dictionary of counterfeiting (1835)

An uncirculated Fr 40 should contain 0.3714 Ozt Fine Au (not 0.3734 Ozt) 

Citation: L'art de l'essayeur; Laurent Jean Chaudet (1835)p.287

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