can appreciate the extraordinary excellence, hundreds will turn to the neighbouring Court to see the last new invention in the way of a cravat pin. The toy is amusing enough. Everybody has seen how bells are rung in all the new hotels in Paris, London, and New York. Instead of pulling the bell making it ring by an exertion of mechanical force, we press a small button in the wall; this is connected by an electric wire with a little alarm, the clapper of which keeps on jingling so long as the button is pressed.... This principle a Frenchman has adapted to cravat pins.... 33 The Timesreport continues with a full description of the pins. They were published in detail in the scientific journal La Nature ( Fig. 163). 34Two were stick- pins, but the third, the star piece, was a ladies' hairpin in the form of a hummingbird with beating wings, real hum-mingbird feathers being the height of fashion at the time ( see pp. 226- 9). According to La Nature, it was owned by ' Madame Metternich' - Princesse Pauline Metternich, member and intimate friend of the Second Empire court, who launched the fashion designer Charles Worth by introducing him to the Empress. 35 The creator of these gimmicks was the distinguished engineer, physician, chemist and scientific instrument maker Gustave Trouvé, noted for his application of portable electricity to military, civil and domestic purposes. Trained as a watchmaker, he set up his own work-shop in 1863, inventing, among other things, a miniature hermetically sealed battery ( patented 1865). 36It was this that enabled him to create his electric jewels, introduced in 1865 and including a soldier beating a drum, a monkey paying the violin, two skulls, one gnashing its teeth, the other rolling its eyes, a decapitated head that did both, a rabbit playing on a bell with drumsticks, a revolving sphere, a Turk's head with eyes rolling from side to side and jaw moving up and down, and a monkey blinking; there was also a pendant with Harlequin and Columbine dancing and the bird hairpin mentioned above. The trick that set the move-ment going was no switch or button, but simply turning the battery on its side or upside down. 37These pieces were described by Georges Barral in 1891; he must have been speak-ing from personal experience and records that the skull and rabbit stick- pins worked for nine hours every day over six months and were still going even then. Few survive: Trouvé was unable to find craftsmen who could make such small objects with the precision required; according to Vever they were made by Cadet- Picard, whose mark appears on the skull pin shown in Fig. 162, but presumably in tiny numbers. 38By 1891 they were already collectors' items: according to Barral pieces that sold at the time for 50 francs were now fetching 700- 1,000 francs on the rare occasions that they came up for sale. 39 Trouvé's next foray into personal ornament was to combine the battery with the new incandescent lamp with carbon filament, patented in the UK by Joseph Swan in 1878 and in America by Thomas Edison in 1879. Trouvé's illuminated jewels burst on the scene in 1883, when they were reported in La Natureand picked up by the Jeweller and Metalworkerand by The Timesin 1884.40They consisted of coloured glass stones set round a globe which con-tained a small incandescent light bulb; at the touch of a switch the beam shone through the coloured glass. Like the earlier jewels they were wired to a small battery, encased in gutta-percha to prevent leakages, weighing some 300 g and measuring about 5 ×3.5 cm ( 2 ×1 ½ in). According to a publicity leaflet issued by Trouvé in 1884, the ' rubies' and diamonds' were specially cut and set to reflect the light source inside, which was a tiny 4- volt bulb. The jewel 210THE CULT OF NOVELTY 162 Trouvé's battery- operated skull stick- pin, enamelled gold with diamond eyes. French, signed PICARDfor A.- G. Cadet- Picard, about 1867. H. 9.2 cm. London, Victoria and Albert Museum The jaw is hinged so that when the wearer set the battery in motion, the skull gnashed its teeth. The battery no longer survives but the connection for the wire is visible beneath the crossbones.
was designed to open so that the bulb could be easily replaced. There were hairpins in the form of crescents and stars, mounted on double prongs - the popular fourchesof the late nine-teenth century ( Fig. 164). For ladies there was also an electric ostrich- feather fan with central illuminated rosette, as well as earrings, rings, bracelets, sleeve buttons and brooches, includ-ing an owl's head to rival the diamond owl's head brooch shown by Massin at the 1878 Paris Exhibition. 41For men there were stick- pins, one of which had a large ' diamond' on the front, the projected beams of which enabled the wearer to read his paper or to find his way home in the dark! A cane handle had the same idea, with a large stone facing in each direction. 42 Trouvé's publicity leaflet claimed that ladies could make their entrance at a soirée ' covered in tiny sources of electric light beside which the Sancy or the Regent would pale into insignificance' ( Fig. 165). 43Their great success, inevitably, was on the stage. There was one problem, however: the small battery lasted for barely half an hour, so either a double-size battery had to be concealed in the clothing, or the user would have to recharge it, for which Trouvé built a portable accumulator cased in ebonite and hidden behind the back or worn on a belt round the waist. 44The ballet La Farandoleat the Paris Opéra in December 1883 owed its success in large part to Trouvé's electricmise- en- scène, and in London the opening production of the Empire Theatre in April 1884, Florimond Hervé's musical drama Chilpéricwith its ballet of fifty illuminated amazons, was roundly held to be the ne plus ultra of magnificence in staging. 45The most astonishing use of these electric light- bulb jewels was for a ' living chandelier' composed of acrobatic dancers at the Théâtre du Chatelet. 46Trouvé had followers: a patent for similar jewellery was taken out in America in 1885.47 Trouvé's final hour of glory in the jewellery arena was in February 1887, when he pro-vided the electric lighting for the examination of the French crown jewels in the Finance ELECTRICITY211 163 A & B Battery- operated electric jewels designed by Gustave Trouvé ( 1839- 1902). From La Nature, 1879 The hummingbird was able to beat its wings, the skull gnashed its teeth or rolled its eyes and the rabbit hammered the bell with drumsticks. The section drawing of the rabbit ( above right) shows how this worked with the aid of a hollow pin.