Registered Design Numbers
The following metalware information was formerly available on the Oxton Decorative Arts web site:
The dating of British designs during the Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods is often assisted by the use of Registered Design Numbers. This was a system which came into being in 1842 and started to decline in the early 1930s. It enabled manufacturers, retailers or designers to register their designs, so that they could not be copied. It was therefore like a cross between a patent and a copyright. Many designs were registered by the manufacturers or retailers rather than the designers, so it is not often possible to identify designers on the basis of Registered Design numbers alone.
Two systems operated―the first used a lozenge shape with letters and numbers at each corner to signify the date or registration―the abbreviation Rd appeared at the center. The letter at the top corner identifies the year. This system ran until 1883, when it was replaced by a series of sequential numbers preceded by Rd, which can be banded into years for dating purposes. For example, Rd 291330 dates a design to 1897. For most years there are overlaps in the sequences of numbers. Details of the registered designs were included in the official journal of Patents, of which there were one or more volumes per year.
The lozenge series of year letters from 1868 to 1883 is as follows:
The numeric series is as follows:
This page was last updated on September 26, 2004.
© 2004, Gregory Kolojeski. All Rights Reserved.