A Superb JJ Mechi Brass Bound Writing Slope c1850


Product Code:23032503

Out of stock

Out of stock


Heading : 19th century brass bound writing slope
Date : 1840-1859
Period : Victoria
Origin :
Decoration : Brass bound exterior. Internally there is an embossed purple velvet lined slope. with two original hinged and screw threaded inkwells. a removable pen tray. and stamp tray. There are two compartments beneath the slope both withe locks. There is a pull out drawer beneath the slope with brass hendle. this is released by removing a pin from the interior. Brass  label on the interior “Made by Mechi. 4 Leadenhall Street London
Size :  38x25x18cm
Condition : Excellent condition commensurate with age
Restoration : None
Weight : 5765 grams

John Joseph Mechi was a singularly entrepreneurial figure in Victorian London. Having begun his working life as a clerk for a company that traded with Newfoundland. a position he held for ten years. he set up his own busuiness a cutler in Leadenhall Street. He made his fortune through the ‘magic razor strop’ in the 1830s at a time when being clean shaven was all the rage. Following the Crimean war. however. returning soldiers came home with long beards grown to protect themselves from the bitterly cold peninsula. Now that having a beard was a sign of heroic masculinity rather than disheveled vagrancy. Mechi’s sales plummeted.

Not a man to lie down and accept defeat. Mechi then took out a patent for light fixtures designed to reduce the heat given off by lights in shop windows. He also bought around 130 acres of farmland in Tiptree Heath. one of the least productive agricultural districts in Essex. Utilising modern agricultural techniques. many of which he developed himself. he made it into a profitable farm. The press attention garnered from his revolutionary farming techniques led to him being made a juror in the department of art and science at The Great Exhibition. His 1857 publication “How to Farm Profitably” was a huge success with more than 10.000 copies sold in various editions. It was during this period of success for Mechi (1840-1860) that this box was made. It bears a striking resemblence to the examples from Mechi’s advertisment in the serialiation of Dickens’ ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ in January 1844.

Unfortunately. like many great entrepreneurs. he eventually bit off more than he could chew.The bank of which he was a governor (Unity Joint Stock Bank) collapsed in 1866. the losses were so heavy that. despite being tipped as a potential Lord Mayor of Lonon. he was forced to resign his aldermancy. To make matters worse a series terrible harvests lead to him being forced into liquidating his affairs on the 14th of December 1880 and Mechi died less than a fortnight later. A sad end to an extraordinary life.

Eric Knowles Comment: At a time when space within new homes is becoming ever more precious writing slopes offer a perfect solution for the iPad and a tidy for post and documents. Functional and beautiful this antique still has a role to play in daily life.

Additional information

Weight6000 g


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