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Dyott Thumb Wheel Thumb wheel marked:
JAN 6, 1864.

The patent was actually granted in 1863, not 1864.
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Dyott Thumb Wheel Thumb wheel marked:
JAN 6, 1863.

The "right" date, probably a later production burner.
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Dyott Advertising Cover M.B. Dyott Illustrated Advertising Cover (reverse)
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Dyott Vapor Burner Dyott Vapor Burner
The design conforms substantially to
patent no. 16379,
dated JANY 13, 1857
and DEC 7, 1858

Photo: Hugh Pribell
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Dyott Bracket Fount Early bracket lamp fount embossed
above the rib around the center.

Masonic Medal Dyott was a member of the St. John's Commandery Number 4, Knights Templar.
He was knighted on October 27, 1871.

Dyott Candlestick Early Dyott candle stick, spring loaded mechanism, marked: DYOTT PHILAD

Photo: V. Sabattis
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    a biographical sketch of     
Michael B. Dyott
Dyott Burner
M.B. Dyott's patent number 37,281 (January 6, 1863) for an improvement in coal-oil burners. The gist of the invention is a twist-up gallery designed to facilitate lighting and wick trimming without the need to remove the chimney or deflector. This burner also incorporates the fluted burner cone, or deflector, that he patented on March 23, 1863, pat. no. 37,956.

Michael Boyd Dyott was born in England in 1823 and would go on to have a successful lamp business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.1 Dyott had some healthy competition in the Philadelphia area including Cornelius, Baker & Company; C.A. VanKirk; Archer, Warner, Miskey & Company; and other smaller lamp and lighting manufacturers.

From passenger and immigration lists, he arrived in Philadelphia with his family on the ship Delaware on November 29, 1829 having made the journey from Liverpool, England. His family settled in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. Dyott's parents, Michael B. and Maria, were both born in England.

Michael B., the elder, born about 1783, was the brother of Dr. Thomas W. Dyott, the druggist, patent medicine magnate, and glassmaker of Kensington and Dyottville Glass Works fame. Shortly after his arrival in the United States, M.B. senior would become superintendent of his brothers's glass factories where he worked until his death on December 31, 1838, at the age of fifty-five.2

Meanwhile, back in England...
On July 27, 1863, M.B. Dyott obtained patent protection in England, patent no. 1865, for the burner depicted above. The entry in the Index of Patents for 1863 reads: "George Haseltine, of the "International Patent Office," No. 12, Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane, in the County of Middlesex, Civil Engineer, for an invention for -- "Improvements in coal oil lamps." -- A communication to him from abroad by the inventor, Michael Boyd Dyott, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Letters Patent sealed." Geo. Haseltine was a successful Patent Agent. The firm he started, Haseltine, Lake & Co., is still in business today.

-- From: Chronological Index of Patents Applied for
and Patents Granted, for the Year 1863 (England)

Michael B., the son, would marry Mary Jane Grimes (b. Oct, 1822), a native of Maryland, on October 3, 1848 in Baltimore, Maryland. They would have one son, Charles G., born in December of 1849, who would at one time work as a printer (per the 1870 Census), then enter the trade with his father soon thereafter; and one daughter, Marion B., who was born in November of 1863.3

Dyott Camphene Lamp
A nice example of an all-brass camphene burning finger lamp manufactured by M.B. Dyott. The bottom is marked: DYOTT PHILADELPHIA in a circle.

It seemed odd that the Dyotts would wait fourteen years to have their second child; most families of the period appear to have had their children much closer together, with larger gaps ranging from three to five years, but seldom more than a decade. The question was answered to some degree in the 1900 census. In the column titled "Mother of how many children," Mary Jane listed four; in the column titled "Number of these children living," she listed two. This would have referred to Marion, then aged 36, single, and still living with her mother, and Charles. Apparently, the Dyotts lost two children for reasons or causes unknown. There is no mention or reference to other children in any of the other census reports.

Dyott's first patent, number 1742, was obtained on August 25, 1840 for a camphene lamp. Remarkably, he would have been seventeen years of age at the time. In A History of American Manufacturers from 1608 to 1860, under a list of the most important inventions patented between 1840 and 1850 is "to Michael B. Dyott, Philadelphia, for an improvement in the Lamp for Burning Camphene."4 He would go on to obtain more than twenty-five patents over a lengthy career, most of them for lamps, burners and other lighting devices. Follow this link to a chronological listing of M.B. Dyott's patents. There is also a list at the end of this article.

By 1845, M.B. Dyott was in business at No. 64 South Second Street in Philadelphia. In the 1845 city directory, Dyott's listing is "camphine [sic] lamps,
64 S 2d." It is also around this time he becomes associated in business with Wilson Kent, likely from the mid-1840's through the early 1850s, trading as M.B. Dyott & Kent. On the advertising note depicted below, they are wholesale and retail dealers and manufacturers of Dyott's Patent Pine Oil Lamps, Chandeliers, Fluid, Solar, Lard & Oil Lamps, Candelabras, &c, &c. Also Gold's Patent Union Refrigerators and Water Coolers.

Dyott-Kent Ad Note

The reference to Gold's Patent Refrigerator relates to Job S. Gold's patent number 1998 granted on March 12, 1841 for his "Union Refrigerator." The refrigerator, or ice box, was to have a separate "apartment" for the ice and chilled water above the storage compartment. Interestingly, M.B. Dyott is noted as a witness to the patent. Job Swift Gold was the youngest of fourteen siblings and the brother of Stephen Johnson Gold of Cornwall, Connecticut. They were jointly involved in inventing a number of improvements in coal stoves and steam heating devices. Stephen also had two patents for lighting devices: number 2168 obtained on July 16, 1841 for a lamp for burning camphene, and number 3073 granted on May 8, 1843, for burning "pine oil." These S.J. Gold patents are similar to what Dyott was working on at the time.

Job S. Gold died on June 21, 1844, at the age of 33. According to an article by R. Curt Chinnici in the Magazine Antiques, "When the Philadelphia lampmaker Job S. Gold died in 1844 the inventory of his shop listed many kinds of shades, globes, finished and unfinished lamps, marble bases, pine oil, wicks, French shades, paper shades, imported lamps, brass parts for lamps and store fixtures, and many tools used to turn brass sheets into lamps. In the inventory accompanying his will Gold held "patents rights" assessed at $150." Further research into the Gold brothers and their connections to Dyott is warranted.

Dyott & Kent Lamp
Dyott gimbaled fluid lamp - can be carried as a finger or hand lamp, or can be hung by the ring seen at the right of the picture. The bottom is marked: DYOTT & KENT MAKERS PHILADA in a circle. Burner has been poorly repaired.
Photo courtesy of Joy Keller McLemore.

The entry for the 1850 United States Federal Census lists his occupation as "Lamp maker." Interestingly, Dyott and his wife were enumerated twice in the 1850 census. When the census was taken on August 21st in Pine Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania they were first counted. Less than two months later they had occasion to be in Maryland, visiting the residence of Charles Grimes, Mary Jane's father, when they were counted again on October 5th in Ward 11 - Baltimore City!

By the end of October, 1854, Dyott & Kent outgrew their current store and relocated five doors up the street to No. 74 South Second Street.5 By 1860 M.B. Dyott had apparently ended his association with Wilson Kent and had again moved up the street to 114 South Second Street.

In the April 2, 1860 edition of The Compiler, a Gettysburg, Pennsylvania newspaper, there is an article about Dyott's establishment that mentions chandeliers and other fixtures he has produced for various customers. One passage reads, "Mr. Dyott also has ready for being sent off to its destination a massive chandelier, bronze relieved with gold, got up for the Presbyterian Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, eight feet high, six feet in diameter; the ornaments commencing in floral beauty, and terminating in sun rays, and the whole weighing 300 pounds." For additional information, here is a transcript of the entire article. Upon further research, it was discovered that the First Presbyterian Church, originally built in 1848, was destroyed by fire on the night of January 29, 1932. One could assume that if the chandelier was indeed delivered to the church, that it was either removed prior to the 1932 fire, or was damaged or destroyed during the fire. The fact remains that the chandelier does not reside in the current church building.

In January, 1863 Dyott patented the lamp burner depicted at the top of the page. In their circa 1884 catalog, The Bristol Brass and Clock Company advertises the New Dyott Burner. It is by all appearances the same burner, but upon closer inspection, one will note that the spiral gallery twists to the left on the "new" version and to the right on all of the examples that the author has seen. One would assume that it was a successful item having been manufactured for some twenty years.

Later in 1863, Dyott invented a glass lamp with a depressed shoulder to function as a drip-catcher. For this he obtained patent number 40,094 on September 29, 1863. This appears to be one of the earlier inventions for this type of improvement. This patent was reissued on January 9, 1877, REISSUE number 7,458 and was assigned to George Henry Lomax. Many lamp collectors will recognize the Lomax name and associate it with the line of "Lomax Oil Guard" lamps.

A Case (or two) of Patent Infringement...
M.B. Dyott was involved, as the plaintiff, in at least two legal cases over patent infringement. One was reported in the January 20, 1849 edition of The Scientific American. The case involved a patent infringement for a camphene lamp (presumably pat. no. 1742) against a Mr. Murphy. The case was argued before Judge Kane in the U.S. Circuit Court in Philadelphia. The jury's verdict was in favor of Dyott and he was awarded $438.08. Another case is mentioned in the May 31, 1850 edition of The Scientific American and related to a lamp patent as well. In the case of Dyott vs. Sickel and Shaw, also in Judge Kane's courtroom, Dyott again prevailed and was awarded $300.75. The defendant Sickel is most likely Horatio G. Sickel, of Philadelphia, who patented "Sickel's Improved Vapor Burner" on August 7, 1849, patent number 6,624. Sickel listed his occupation as "Lamp Maker" in both the 1850 and 1860 census.

Dyott was granted two patents for mechanical lamps - those which employed a clockwork driven fan to provide a consistent draft without the use of a chimney. One example employs Dyott's patent number 64,508 granted on May 7, 1867 for a glass fount designed to prevent the possibility of leaking fuel onto the clockworks. His other patent granted a year earlier on May 26, 1866 (pat. no. 55,075) is for a conical shaped fount designed to direct air more evenly and also functions as a drip catcher for oil and wick trimmings.

Below is an image of the bottom of a Dyott mechanical lamp which still retains the majority of its original label. It states: "Directions for using the Atmospheric Coal Oil Lamp. Remove the oil fount from the stand to trim and fill; unscrew the burner to fill; trim the wick same as in other lamps. Wind up the movement before lighting and to insure a good light, the movement should be wound up every four or five hours. The movement should be taken out once a year and the pivots oiled. M.B. Dyott, Manufacturer, No. 114 South Second Street, Philadelphia."

Label from Mechanical Lamp
Label from M.B. Dyott's Mechanical "Atmospheric Coal Oil Lamp," the transcript of which is noted above in the text.

By 1870, as noted in that year's Philadelphia City Directory, Charles G. Dyott was working as a clerk in his father's shop. Michael Dyott collaborated on three patents with Charles between 1879 and 1886: patent numbers 213,879, 326,550 and 334,698. Charles also obtained three lighting patents in his own name: 194,420, 374,144 and 427,979, and one for the propulsion of vehicles in 1904.

At the Franklin Institute Exhibition in 1874, M.B. Dyott & Son won a Silver Medal in the category of gas fixtures for their Champion Street Lamps.6 In a short article in the November 7, 1874 edition of the South-Jersey Republican, Hammonton, New Jersey, the writer stated "This exhibition has proven a great success....It would require more room than we have to give, to speak fully of the numerous wonderful and beautiful things there to be seen....Among the most noteworthy, we mention the admirable display made by M.B. Dyott whose store is at 124 South 2d. st. Philadelphia, with his beautiful lamps..."

The 1880 census entries for both Michael and Charles list their occupations as "Manuf. of Gas Fixtures." In addition to his lighting patents, Michael also obtained two patents early in his career for hot air furnaces (nos. 9,966 and 12,901) and one for the application of metal veneer or facings7 for buildings which employs a series of hooks upon which the metal panels hang and then the voids are filled with concrete, patent number 9,937, dated August 16, 1853. Aside from these "distractions," his innovations seemed to be almost singularly focused on the field of lighting.

Has the jury reached a verdict?
This is an excerpt from an 1839 newspaper article which outlines the conviction of Dr. Thomas W. Dyott who started the Manual Labor Bank with good intentions, but which ultimately failed. "This celebrated individual, who figured largely in the city of Philadelphia as a great banker and issuer of shin plasters, has recently been tried and convicted of willfully defrauding the honest and hard working people of Philadelphia out of several hundred thousand dollars." The trial, which lasted several weeks, returned a guilty verdict on all counts of the indictment, including count number five: "Colluding with Michael B. Dyott to conceal goods, value $30,000." This most likely refers to M.B. the elder, rather than the son.
-- The Western Telegraph, Rossville, Ohio, June 20, 1839   

In addition to his business dealings, M.B. Dyott and his wife were actively involved with the Spiritualist movement in the mid- to late-1860's. Records indicate that he attended their National Conventions from at least 1865 through 1869. He served on numerous committees, was a passionate and vocal advocate for a number of resolutions, particularly the Children's Lyceum, and held the offices vice president and treasurer at different times.

At the Fourth Annual National Convention of Spiritualists, held in Cleveland, Ohio, September 3-6, 1867, "The Committee on Badges made a report, setting forth the propriety of inaugurating a society, to be designated the "United Order of Eternal Progress," and this committee was appointed to decide upon a badge to be worn by all members, designating them as the elect. The emblem is intended to be worn as a breast-pin, stud, or locket, by "Spiritualists," members of the "Children抯 Progressive Lyceum,"

Dyott Patent Emblem
Shown above is the patent drawing for the aforementioned badge. The patent was obtained by M.B. Dyott on October 22, 1867, having been assigned Design patent number 2805 for a "design for an emblem."

"Eternal Progressionists," and liberal thinkers, who believe in a continuous progressive life beyond the confines of earthly existence. For those who are not members of the Lyceum, the emblem would be a disc of silver, about three-fourths of an inch diameter, the lower half burnished or dead white silver, upon which a golden sun is represented as rising out of and above the clouds, surmounted with the motto "Progressive" occupying the centre of an arch, either end of which rest upon a cluster of stars. For those who desire to be recognized as members of the "Children抯 Progressive Lyceum," a golden target is placed upon the clouds, with the inscription "Lyceum" upon it, and upon the staff beneath the target is the American Flag."8

At the Fifth National Convention of Spiritualists, held in Rochester, New York, August 25-28, 1868, "A motion was made to pay M. B. Dyott $1100 for the patent of the medals. Six ayes, several hundred noes. [The funds of the society being low, the last vote was received with cheers.]" Further, "M. B. Dyott of Philadelphia submitted a report in regard to a Secret Order of Spiritualists. The report took the ground that it was improper to form a religious secret order, but that a benevolent order, embracing Spiritualists of both sexes, after the plan of the Odd Fellows?Society, was highly proper and should be encouraged. The report was accepted and the committee discharged."9

Standard Gas Lamp Company
From Poor's Directory of Railway Officials, 1887.

At some point in time, yet to be determined, Michael B. Dyott must have dissolved or sold his company then went to work for The Standard Gas Lamp Company. The Standard Gas Lamp Company was a tenant of Morse, Williams & Co. at the Morse Elevator Works factory located at the corner of Frankford Road and Wildey Street through to Shackamaxon Street, 18th Ward, Philadelphia, Penna. The lamp factory occupied the fourth floor of building #2. They also occupied part of the second floor of building #7 where patterns and glass shades were stored. The company president was Stephen A. Morse of the celebrated Morse Elevator Works. In 1886 The Standard Gas Lamp Company employed four men. A.J. Reach & Co., a manufacturer of baseballs, was also a tenant of Morse. They employed 70 hands: 40 men, 20 boys, and 10 girls.10

The image above is taken from the 1887 edition of Poor's Directory of Railway Officials and lists M.B. Dyott as the superintendent of The Standard Gas Lamp Co. The ad features Dyott's CHAMPION street lamp. He would have been about 64 years of age at the time and would only live a short while longer. They had an advertisement in the 1888-89 directory as well, but Dyott is not listed. By the time Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory for 1889 was compiled, M.B. Dyott had entered into rest as his wife, Mary Jane, is listed as widowed. The exact date and cause of death is under investigation by this author.

 Chronological Listing of Dyott Patents
 These represent known patents; there may be more.

 No.       Patent Date  	Invention
 -----     ---------------      ---------------

1742	   August 25, 1840      camphene lamp
AI37	   March 18, 1841       lamp 
2658	   May 30, 1842         lamp for essential oils
9937	   August 16, 1853      building veneer
9966	   August 30, 1853      hot air furnace
12239	   January 16, 1855     lamp shade
12901      May 22, 1855         hot air furnace
16379      January 13, 1857     burning fluid lamp
22230	   December 7, 1858     vapor lamp burner
37281	   January 6, 1863      lamp burner 
37965	   March 24, 1863       burner deflector/cone
40094	   September 29, 1863   lamp - drip catcher	
55075	   May 29, 1866         mechanical lamp
64508	   May 7, 1867          mechanical lamp
D2805      October 22, 1867     design for emblem
116573	   July 4, 1871         vapor burner
119920	   October 17, 1871     improvement in lanterns
124673	   March 19, 1872       street lamp
131086	   September 3, 1872    vapor burner
137538	   April 8, 1873        street lamp
D8048      February 9, 1875     gas carburetor
168463	   October 5, 1875      gas burner attachment
194420?   August 21, 1877      chandelier support
RE7458	   January 9, 1877      lamp (pat. no. 40094)
213879?   April 1, 1879        gas burner
326550?   September 22, 1885   gas/vapor burner
334698?   January 19, 1886     central draught lamp
374144?   November 29, 1887    lamp or lantern
427979?   May 13, 1890         gas regulator

Trademark obtained by M.B. Dyott, likely 
for his CHAMPION street lamp:

706        March 19, 1872       Carbon-Gas Light
                                oil and burner

 --- notations ---
 ?In collaboration with Charles G. Dyott, his son.
 ?Sole patents of Charles G. Dyott.
Dyott's Book of Patterns
An important Dyott catalog, M.B. Dyott's Book of Patterns, is part of the Winterthur Museum's Library collection. The hardbound catalog, the only copy known, consists of fifty-six leaves of salt prints depicting Dyott's lighting fixtures. Hopefully this magnificent catalog will one day be made available to collectors in print or digital format.

Photo: 2002 Winterthur Annual Report

Patent SearchPatent Search Interface

To view any of the patents referenced in this article, enter the patent number in the field below and click Query USPTO Database. This will open in a new window and take you to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database - directly to the patent in question. Learn more about the USPTO here.

Patent Number ?/B> 

References  End Notes and References
  • 1 Newspaper advertisement, The Compiler, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, February 27, 1860.

  • 2 McKearin, Helen, Bottles, Flasks and Dr. Dyott, New York: Crown Publishers, 1970.

  • 3 United States Federal Census records for years 1830, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900; Philadelphia, 1800-1850 Passenger and Immigration Lists, viewed January 15, 2007, Map Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia

    Note: Unfortunately, there are a number of discrepancies between the different census enumerations. Years of birth or ages of individuals are often vary slightly from census to census due to people's recollection of events and facts. That was the case encountered during this research.

  • 4 A History of American Manufacturers from 1608 to 1860, Philadelphia: Edward Young & Company, 1864.

  • 5 Newspaper advertisement, Delaware State Reporter, Dover, Delaware, November 3, 1854.

  • 6 The Journal of the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia: The Franklin Institute, 1875.

  • 7 The Scientific American, Volume 11, Issue 14, December 15, 1855. Other issues of The Scientific American are incorporated by references contained within the text.

  • 8 "The Spiritualist Convention," The Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 6, 1867, viewed February 2, 2007, <>

  • 9 "National Convention of Spiritualists," The Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser, August 26, 1868, viewed February 2, 2007, <>

  • 10 Hexamer, Ernest, Hexamer General Surveys, Volume 21, Morse Elevator Works, Map Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia, viewed March 4, 2007, <>.

  • Woodcroft, Bennet, Chronological Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted, for the Year 1863, London: George Edward and William Spottiswoode, 1864.

  • Philadelphia City Directories for the years: 1840, 1845, 1850, 1860, 1865, 1870, 1880, 1889, 1890. Copies of the Dyott entries were provided by the Newspapers & Microfilm Center of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

  • Jackson, Thomas M., The Centennial History of St. John's Commandery Number 4, Knights Templar, AO 701 to 801 and AD 1819 to 1919, Philadelphia: Committee on History, The Masonic Temple of Philadelphia, 1919.

  • Chinnici, R. Curt, "The manufacture of Argand lamps in Philadelphia," The Magazine Antiques, February, 2002, viewed March 23, 2007, <>

  • Sedgwick Genealogy Worldwide, Benjamin Gold and Eleanor Johnson, viewed March 23, 2007, <>

  • The First Presbyterian Church, Paducah, Kentucky, web site, viewed March 26, 2007, <>

  • Newspaper article, The Compiler, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, April 2, 1860.

  • A personal "Thank You" to Hugh Pribell who provided me with many images of Dyott vapor burners and lamps for my research, as well as the Manual Labor Banking House demand note; to Anton Kaim who provided the image of the English Patent; and to fellow lighting researcher Bill Courter for visiting the First Presbyterian Church in Paducah, KY in search of the Dyott chandelier.

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