Five years ago, a fellow inquisitive bookend collector, Chris Bernhard, contacted us with the question, “Who are these guys?” He was referring to paper labels that included “The S.C. Tarrant Co. Inc., New York City” above ARMOR BRONZE found on some Armor Bronze bookends.
The Bookend Collector responded with “We have seen this Tarrant label in the past. Because the label is the same as the Armor Bronze label, we have assumed that the name Tarrant came first and was later changed to Armor Bronze.”
We couldn’t answer the question then and still can’t.
Chris has poked us every-so-often with further questions and by supplying his own research into the enigma. He also began to question the role Paul Mori & Co. (Galvano Bronze) played with S.C.Tarrant. He found both a paper label and an incised Maker’s Mark on different pairs of bookends that incorporated both Tarrant and Galvano Bronze.
Recently, Chris gave us another shove! He sent photos of a beautiful Viking Longboat bookend with TARRANT stamped into the side.
Conducting sporadic internet searches we have come across some clues and few hard pieces of evidence. Now we ask, “WHAT IS THE PLACE OF THE S. C. TARRANT COMPANY AMONG BOOKEND FOUNDRIES?” Did Armor Bronze make bookends for S.C. Tarrant or vice-versa? Was S. C. Tarrant a foundry?
But internet searches haven’t given us much in the way of elucidation on these questions.
Here is what we know …………….
- The Armor Bronze label on which S.C. Tarrant appears was used pre-1934, per Gerald P. McBride in CAST METAL BOOKENDS, Schiffer Pub.1997.
- The term “GALVANO BRONZE”, which was coined by the firm of P.Mori & Son, became a generic description of the electroform process (Gerald McBride and others)
- At least one example of the mark “TARRANT” as part of a casting has been found -the Viking Longship Bookends.
- Around 1924, the sculptor Elie Nadelman executed a series of figures in what he dubbed, “galvano-plastique” and, according to his grand-daughter, Cynthia Nadelman , in “Elie Nadelman: Galvano-Plastiques”, Salandar O’Reilly Galleries, 2001, the foundry was S.C. Tarrant.
Chris queried The New York Historical Society, asking the following: In 19-teens (perhaps earlier), SC Tarrant’s name was associated with 2 companies engaged in production of decorative household objects: National Metalizing Co aka Armor Bronze and P(aul) Mori & Son aka Galvano Bronze. Armor Bronze and Galvano Bronze were separate and distinct entities (to my knowledge) but SC Tarrant’s name appears on some of identifying foil labels of each company. I wish to know who / what SC Tarrant was. Any information you might discover would be useful and fun for me. Thank you.
Marian Touba, Reference Librarian at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library of the New York Historical Society replied:
“….. It proved a bit challenging, because, as far as I can tell, Stanley C. Tarrant was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades with many lives in business. He was british-born in 1887 and lived most of his life in the U.S. in Westchester County, New York and , finally in Connecticut, dying in 1950. He had a son of the same name.
“The S.C. Tarrant company shows up in city and business directories a little later than you might think, in the mid – 1920s and early 1930s under Gas and Electric Fixtures”.
“When we look at Westchester directories and census records over the years, we find Tarrant calls himself a statistician, an office manager, an electrical engineer, a dealer in art goods. At one point, before forming the S.C. Tarrant company he worked for the Westchester Lighting Company. He wrote articles in business magazines both about statistics and office efficiency.”
The librarian also provided a copy of a 1932 NY Times Business Records section announcement which listed the transfer of the S.C.Tarrant company to a buyer or creditor.
Bookend Collector found a November, 1921 announcement In the THE MORNING NEWS (Wilmington, Delaware) regarding the funding of The S.C. Tarrant Co, Inc. Manufacture of lighting fixtures, lamps, etc. From these two pieces of information it can be surmised that the S. C. Tarrant Co. was in existence between 1921 and 1932.
In summary: S.C. Tarrant was in existence from 1921 – 1932, and possibly earlier and was a foundry where the Nadelman’s sculptures were cast. Tarrant had unspecified relationships with both Armor Bronze and Galvano Bronze, as reflected in the name combinations on certain bookends.