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Allan Jones & Co.

Allan Jones & Co. (Born 1885)

Although not specifically made as campaign furniture but aimed more at the domestic market, the Hatherley Patent Tables and the other items made by Allan Jones & Co. fold neatly and no doubt were adopted as travel furniture by some members of the military.

The company of Allan Jones & Co. was formed by Charles Allan Jones. He was one of nine children and the youngest son of Anthony Gilbert Jones who was thrice Mayor of Gloucester. The family lived at Hatherley Manor in Down Hatherley which is between Cheltenham and Gloucester. Charles was born in 1857 and was a solicitor when he invented his Lattisteps ladder which launched his change of career.

He had noticed how the maids struggled to clean the many out of reach places in the large Manor and set about making a ladder in the house's workshops. After several prototypes he produced the Lattisteps, considered by many to be the forerunner of the step ladder, and patented the design No. 3298 on August the 16th, 1882. A year later, he took out a patent in the USA.

He noted on his advertising that the company of Allan Jones was formed in 1885 and after the success of his Lattisteps he opened the Hatherley Works. By March 1905 he had greatly expanded his range to include folding Hatherley Tables, Supper Tables, Tsittatte Tables (for catering, scientific, dress making and other uses), Self Locking Catering Tables, M Pattern Tables, Hatherley Trestle Tables, Cajac Tables, Brek-a-bed Tables, Bicycle Strands, Hatherley Seats and Benches, Step Seats, Gong Stands, Easels, Lean To Lattisladders, Cajac Steps, Double Steps and Umpire Seats. In 1906 he also made a portable, collapsible, tower.

He was proud to note the modernity of his factory which featured a tramway system covering the more than 2 1/2 acre site and a sprinkler system to prevent fires. The size of his business had grown to the extent that he boasted of always having 12,000 Hatherley Lattisteps in stock. Perhaps because he started life as a solicitor he was aware of the importance of protecting your work. The Lattisteps patent was taken out very early in his career and he made sure to patent and trademark his designs. He warned the public to avoid his imitators, who took short cuts and work was of a lesser quality. They were to always ask for his trademarks of Brekabed, Cajac and Alhathlat.

Although the Army & Navy CSL advertised the Tsittatte table in their 1907 catalogue, it seems they were also one of the companies who were offering copies of Allan Jones's furniture. The A&N CSL also illustrated in the same catalogue the Yelock table which appears to be very similar to Jones's Cajac table. Even the unusual choice of name suggests that Allan Jones inspired the table.

The business moved to Tuffley, Gloucester around the start of the First World War and then in about 1916 became a limited company. After war, Allan Jones supplied the Queen Mary, Mauritania and Queen Elizabeth passenger ships of the Cunard Line with deck chairs as they were converted back from troop ships. The company was sold not long after and the named changed to Hatherley Works Ltd, continuing into the 1960s. The founder died in April 1942.

Allan Jones offered most of his products in a choice of deal, birch, oak or teak and in a variety of sizes. His furniture is as well made as he boasted and the folding mechanisms clever in their design and easy to operate.

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