Wilkes Booth Silver Candle Snuffers, 1803
Wick Trimmers - Openwork handles - London 1803 by Wilkes Booth - 17.5cm long; 104g - DE/3765
This is an excellent pair of George III period silver candlesnuffers (aka wick trimmers) made by the best maker of these implements - Wilkes Booth. Candlesnuffers were used to both extinguish a lit candle and in turn to cut the wick ready for the next use.
This example has attractive openwork handles and stands on three legs to enable to be easily picked up from a table. It has a firebox in the usual fashion with an expertly engraved script monogram to the outside and steel cutting plates to the base of the interior.
The handle is sprung in the usual way so that when you part the handles, the firebox automatically opens and when released the snuffers close with a resounding snap and so cutting the wick on the steel plates and extinguishing the flame. A clever bonus feature to these candlesnuffers is the locking mechanism that allows the firebox to remain open when the handles are fully separated. The pointed end of the tool can be used to dig out the wick from the solidified wax prior to the candle being re-lit.
The spring in the handle pivot still works perfectly and there is a full set of hallmarks to the inside of the firebox and appropriate part marks to the cutting arm.
Wilkes Booth first entered his mark at Goldsmiths Hall in 1787 as a specialist snuffer maker. He ran his business alone for twenty-three years from his workshop at 8 Albemarle Street until his son John joined him as a partner in 1810.