Registered Design No. 238436

As we work towards another update of highlighted records we have to stop and share a rather amazing coincidence we found inside a large bundle of Patent Office material from the 1800s. Leafing through the documents we came across a Registration of Design for a shape which looked strangely familiar…

The certificate for Registered Design No. 238436, annotated on the reverse as a “butterfly plate” (you can probably see where this is going), is dated 29th January 1870 and includes a reference photograph which drew our eye immediately. To our great surprise the shape and ornamentation of the plate perfectly matched up to the butterfly designs we highlighted on the blog only a few posts ago – a link between two parts of the Archive we really weren’t expecting to find, though I suppose we should know better by now.


Also noted on the back of the certificate is what we believe to be the shape number – 1545 – though we haven’t been able to confirm this in the Shape Books just yet. We have however found shape 1545 listed in the Estimates Book for the 1878 Paris Exhibition, where it is listed as a dessert plate. Now that’s a striking dessert plate!

Keep your eyes peeled for our next update which we’re hoping to release in time for the site’s first anniversary, and we’ll keep ours peeled for even more surprising coincidences in the Archive – there seem to plenty waiting for us!