Lovely molded hand mirror by Florence Mfg. Company, circa late 19th century.
Marked "Florence" on the handle with a patent date of 1866.
From the Museum of Design in Plastics:
Florence Compound was the invention of Alfred Critchlow (1813-1881) who was a manufacturer of horn buttons in Birmingham, England. After emigrating to the US, where he initially continued in this trade, Critchlow eventually moved to Florence, Massachusetts, where, in the 1850s, he began to experiment with moulding compounds of shellac (a resin secreted by the lac beetle) and gutta percha (a natural material derived from the Malaysian tree of the same name).
He developed a shellac-based moulding material which he named Florence Compound and used it to manufacture buttons and Union Cases (small protective cases for daguerreotype photographs), thought to be some of the first mass-produced plastic mouldings.
In 1853 Critchlow went into partnership with Samuel Hill and Isaac Parsons, but when the development of new photographic processes led to a dwindling in demand for such cases, he sold his share in the company which then took the name Littlefield, Parsons and Co. Subsequently they changed their name to the Florence Manufacturing Co. and, needing to find new uses for their moulding material, produced highly decorated hand mirrors and brush sets.
+++ Measurements +++
Approx 9" long
+++ Condition +++
Material has a few cracks and there is a single crack across the glass. Glass does not feel loose. Still very beautiful and usable!
+++ Please read +++
This item is not new, and as such, it has wear commensurate with age. As with all older vintage and antique items, please handle with care.
All items are sold as-is, and I do my best to point out all condition issues and provide a detailed description and photographs.
Unless specified, items have not been cleaned.
I do not accept returns or offer refunds. Please see all photos, read the entire description, and ask any questions before purchasing.