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Pistol lighter

Bonnay, Bonnehai, ou Bonnechay

| LS 2002.2.1

Date : 1755 -1775 | Medium : Wrought iron, cut, engraved, inlaid with gold, wood, flint

One of the highest expressions of the historic art of lighter-making is the table lighter table known as the pistol lighter, often bearing the craftsman’s name. The museum conserves dozens of such items, bearing names such as Peter Paret, Dumont-Blachou, Felix B.... This beautifully sized pistol lighter twice bears the inscription ‘Bonnehai à Maubeuge’. Monsieur Bonnehai,a master gunsmith in the Maubeuge arsenal, was the inspector at the factory for six months, ‘during the illness of Mr Dujardin and following his death until the arrival of Mr. Cousin’ in 1754. The object is finely wrought. The trigger could only be activated after being secretly unlocked. The striking of the flint against the steel plate (hardened by fire), enabled a piece of tinder to be brought to a white heat which in turn automatically ignited the candle that stood on end at the same time: the height of refinement! The object is also graced with a rich array of decorations: motifs from gunsmithery, scales, foliage, palmettes and flowers.

A Gift of the Friends of the Museums of Rouen, acquired on the Parisian art market in 2001