A Good Victorian Plated "London Dome" Ear Trumpet.

Maker: 
Frederic C. Rein
Dated: 
C.1870
Dimensions: 
4.74" (12 cm) high, 2" diameter

The bell-shaped body engraved all over with leafy scrolls and inscribed around the opening "F.C. Rein & Son Patentees, Sole Inventors & Makers,108 Strand, London". The tubular stem engraved with similar scrolls and with replacement ivorine earpiece. The main opening covered by pierced scrolls.

Price: 
£550

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The history of F.C Rein, the makers of hearing aids, is rather like that of William Beckford. There are a lot of inaccuracies and exaggerations. It is further complicated by the fact that both father and son shared the same names. Many articles suggest the firm was founded in 1800 but there seems to be little concrete evidence to support this especially as we do know that Frederick Senior was born in Leipzig in 1813 and came to England in about 1834/5. In 1838 he married Susanna Payne but did not obtain his naturalization papers till June 1855 . By this time he had already exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and was a medal winner. According to Elisabeth Bennion in her book "Antique Medical Instruments", page 329, this was the year that Rein moved to 108 The Strand. Previously, in 1841, he was recorded at 340 The Strand where it seems probable that he took over an existing business A.F. Hemming listed as an "elastical surgical instrument maker". By 1843 Rein was advertising himself as "An Inventor and Maker of the New Acoustic Instuments to H.R.H the Duke of Sussex". It would appear that it was from this time onwards that the business flourished. The engraving on this ear trumpet clearly states "F.C.Rein and Son".  Frederick (Junior) was born in 1841 and the company became F.C Rein & Son in 1865. In the 1880's the shop was somewhat boastfully referred to as a "Paradise for the Deaf". Rein senior died in 1896 followed by his son just 4 years later. Susanna, Rein senior's widow, presumably sold the business to the Opticians next door called Charles Kahn. Kahn kept the name of Rein and eventually his son, Leslie, was to adopt the Rein name. Leslie died in 1956 and in 1963 the business was apparently taken over by Amplivox.

There is no doubt that F.C. Rein and Son were highly successful makers of ear trumpets and similar hearing aids; this small sized example usually known as the "London Dome" may have been for a lady or even child.