TitleElkington and Company, Silverware Manufacturers, Birmingham (later part of British Silverware Company Limited, Sheffield)
AdminHistoryElkington and Company was founded as a company of silversmiths in Birmingham in 1836, pioneering electroplate, electrotyping, Sheffield silver and other products. The originators of silver-plating were two cousins, George Richards Elkington (1801 - 1865) and Henry Elkington (1810 - 1852), who began their research at the time of the industrial revolution. By 1838 they had discovered and patented a new way to electroplate one metal on to the surface of another. By 1840, they had perfected the technique of electroplating and their production of silver electroplated wares was well underway. The Elkingtons opened a new electroplating works in Newhall Street in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham in 1841.

The company received financial backing from Josiah Mason in 1842 (renaming the firm Elkington, Mason and Company between 1842 and 1861) and gained notable success. Elkington and Company exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 to much acclaim. In 1868 Queen Victoria permitted much of the royal plate to be copied by the firm and subsequently a convention was entered into by 'several Princes of the reigning families of Europe' whereby they agreed mutually to assist Elkington and Company in allowing copies of their own national objects for the process of art. Elkington and Company was awarded the Legion d'Honneur of the French Republic and had the distinction of holding royal warrants to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, King George V, Queen Mary and King George VI, as well as the Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) and H.R.H. Princess Christian and the King of Spain and King of Italy. Elkington and Company also supplied flatware to the luxury dining sections on board the Titanic and other ships in the White Star Line fleet.

In spite of their Birmingham base, the firm registered several marks at Sheffield Assay Office; the first of these was as Elkington, Mason and Company in January 1859, and subsequent marks as Elkington and Company were registered in 1870, 1891 and 1906.

In 1963 the company was combined under British Silverware Limited along with the Sheffield based silver manufacturing firms Mappin and Webb and Walker and Hall. The name Elkington and Company persisted into the 21st century, as manufacturers under the auspices of British Silverware Limited, and, at the time of writing, the Elkington brand of cutlery continues to be manufactured in Sheffield.
DescriptionPhotographic Catalogues, c. 1960 - 1961 (X289/1)
Datec.1960 - 1961
Extent4 items
RelatedMaterialRelated Material at Sheffield Archives:

Sheffield Assay Office, 1773 - 2008 (Ref. SAO).

Walker and Hall (previously Bingham and Hall) and Mappin and Webb, Silverware Manufacturers, Sheffield, 1848 - 1929 (Walker and Hall: ledger, 1842 - 1853, volume of contracts of employment, 1875 - 1883; Mappin and Webb: deed of arrangement, 1890, and tables of sales, 1925 - 1929) (Ref. MD6189-6192).

Walker and Hall (including letter book and pattern books), c. 1913 - c. 1958 (Ref. MD6642-6646).

Walker and Hall (pattern/description books, registers of badges and punches, photographs), 1906 - 1967 (Ref. X290).

Walker and Hall catalogue, 1939 (Ref. SY81/Z/3/1).

Letters from E Bellamy to Mr W H Juggins regarding his appointment to work at Walker and Hall, 1908 (Ref. MD8201).

Mappin and Webb (pattern/description books, silverware drawings (blueprints), photograph albums, product lists), 1910 - 1967 (Ref. X291).

Mappin and Webb Limited planning application files: various, 1929 - 1954 (Ref. CA 206/32478a-n); additions and alteration to factory, 1953 (Ref. CA206/32478l).

Letters from Frederick Mappin, of Sheffield, c. 1876 (Ref. SLPS51/763, 839, 1081).

British Silverware Limited, Royal Works, Queens Road, Sheffield, auction catalogue: plant, machinery and office furnishings, 1971 (Ref. MD6537/3).

Secondary sources available in searchroom library:

Sheffield Assay Office, The Sheffield Assay Office Register: A copy of the register of the persons concerned in the manufacture of silver wares, and of the marks entered by them from 1773 to 1907 (Sheffield: William Townsend and Sons, 1911) (Ref. SHE BUS).

Sheffield Assay Office, Sheffield Assay Office 1773 - 1973 (Sheffield, 1973) (Ref. SHE BUS).

Leader, R. E., History of the Sheffield Cutlers' Company (2 vols.) (Sheffield: Pawson and Brailsford, 1905) (Ref. LEA LOCAL O).

Bradbury, Frederick, History of Old Sheffield Plate, Being an Account of the Origin, Growth and Decay of the Industry and of the Antique Silver and White or Britannia Metal Trade, with Chronical Lists of Makers' Marks and Numerous Illustrations of Specimens (London: Macmillan and Company Limited, 1912) (Ref. BRA BUS O).

Various other printed secondary sources on the Sheffield cutlery industry are also available.

Related Material at Sheffield Local Studies Library:

Various books and secondary printed sources relating to the cutlery and silver manufacturing industry are available (contact the library for further details).

Related Material Elsewhere:

Many papers relating to Elkington and Company are lodged with the Victoria and Albert Museum Archive of Art and Design, London, with some records also held at Birmingham City Archives.

Various photographs relating to Elkington and Company are held at the English Heritage National Monuments Record Centre, Swindon.
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