Thorncliffe Visited

Near Sheffield [England]: Newton, Chambers & Company Ltd., ca. 1930. Wraps. Octavo size, 16 pp. Very good +. Item #CNJWEM036

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was an exemplary book illustrator and cartoonist, "the only British illustrator to become a 'household name' " (Houfe), a contemporary of acclaimed illustrators Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, best known for his cartoons portraying elaborate and whimsical machinary made to complete simple tasks. In fact, his fame was such that the term "Heath Robinson" was used in the United Kingdom to refer to such machinary, much as the term "Rube Goldberg" was used in the United States.

This scarce pamphlet (as of this writing, neither OCLC nor copac show copies, there are none online and no auction records; not in Beare) promotes the cleansing and antisepctic properties of "Izal" products (of which there were over 130), which was a household name in Britain for most of the 20th century. The parent company, Newton, Chambers and Co. were coal excavators, and were looking for a use for carbolic acid, a by-product of the coking ovens. They "engaged an analytical chemist to explore the possibility of using coal oil, which was claimed to have antiseptic qualities but would not mix with water, and by adding emulsifiers they were able to disperse the oil. The resulting liquid was trialled in hospitals across the land, and full page adverts were placed in publications such as The Times and London Illustrated News" (n.b., from an online article "The History of Izal" by Joan Jones dated March 7, 2016). The rest, as they say, was history.

The company engaged Robinson to draw up a series of illustrations which were published as posters, postcards, and two booklets: this, "Thorncliffe Visited" (the Thorncliffe valley is where the mining took place) and "Heath Robinson Sees Izal Made". This booklet uses Robinson's humor as a means of enticing potential customers to read all about the benefits of Izal in all walks of life; industrial, commercial, on farms, in apiaries, and, of course, at home. "Just as Izal preserves the home against the invasion of bacteria so Izal powder is a most potent weapon against the presence of parasites in the home and among domestic animals" (p. 14).

___DESCRIPTION: Staple bound in pictorial light-weight linen-like cardstock wraps, light green with black lettering and a small illustration by Robinson on the front wrap, title page illustration by Robinson, with seven full-page illustrations by Robinson on the rectos of pp. 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 with corresponding text on the opposing versos (pp. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14), three half-page illustrations (front wrap, title page, and last page of text (16); octavo size (8 3/8" by 5 3/8"), pagination: [1] 2-16, company advertisement on back wrap for the Izal products.

___CONDITION: A bit better than very good; the stapled binding holding extremely well, sturdy with no loose pages although the staples themselves are beginning to rust; the wraps with light overall dustiness and extremely minor edgewear, the interior clean other than light scattered foxing, and free of prior owner markings; almost near fine, we are grading as very good plus due to the above-mentioned issues plus a few very light creases to the wraps.

___CITATION: Not listed in Beare.

___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.

___Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB, and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.

Price: $700.00

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