Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Jarrett, Rainsford and Laughton

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December 1934. Reduca.
April 1935.
May 1949.
1949.
1949.

of Kent Street, Birmingham. (1922)

of Alexandra Works, Kent Street, Birmingham. Telephone: Midland 3768 (PBX). Cables: "Rainsford, Birmingham". Showrooms in Hamsell Street, Jewin Street, London, EC2. (1929)

of Leominster Works, Lower Essex Street, Birmingham, 5. Telephone: Birmingham Midland 3771 PBX. Cables: Ditto. Showrooms in Dean Street, London, W1. (1947)

In 1920, two Birmingham companies merged; Jarrett and Rainsford, makers of haberdashery goods and cheap jewellery, and Stratton and Co, makers of knitting needles, radio receivers and men's jewellery. Stratton was owned by G. A. Laughton and the new company was called Jarrett, Rainsford and Laughton Ltd, with the Stratton name retained for the company's Fancy Metal department.

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Pins (all classes), Hairpins, Snap Fasteners, Knitting Pins, Hair Wavers, and General Hard Haberdashery. (Stand No. E.15) [1]

From 1923 part-finished powder boxes were imported from the USA to be assembled and decorated in England until the company set up its own compact and lipstick case manufacturing equipment in the 1930s.

1929 British Industries Fair Advert for 'up-to-date Art Novelties for the Fancy Goods Trade' in 'artistically-painted wood'. Manufacturers of Pins, Hairpins (all classes), "Ladye Jayne" Slumber Helmets, "Lide" Sports Caps, Wardrobes, "Ladye Fayre" Compactum Powder Boxes, ""Studiette" Art Novelties, including calendars, Needlework Sets; Millinery Stands, Handcrafts, etc. (Fancy Goods Section - Stand No. J.80) [2]

This was so successful that by 1939 half these items for the British cosmetic industry were being made by Stratton Ltd., although they did not carry the Stratton name. At the same time a range of "fancy vanity boxes" (compacts) marked Stratton, or the earlier "Stratnoid" name, were produced for the jewellery trade, competing successfully against imports from the USA, Germany and Japan. An employee of a German competitor was forced to flee the Nazis in 1938. He joined the company, adding his experience and expertise gained with Rowenta to Stratton's Fancy Metal Department, which was located in the Alexandra Works, one of the company's five factories in Birmingham.

In November 1940 four of these factories were destroyed by Luftwaffe bombing raids on Birmingham, with 500 foot-high flames engulfing the Alexandra works and the adjacent Globe Works. The company found new premises at scattered locations around Birmingham and turned production to the War Effort, adapting salvaged machinery where possible: for example, machines designed to make lipstick cases were modified to produce shell cases.

The manufacture of powder compacts was resumed in 1946 at the rebuilt Leominster Works, using new and adapted machinery, so that many post-war Stratton compacts are unlike their pre-war counterparts.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for "Ladye Jayne", "Glida", "Stratton", "Twinco" and "Expanda" ranges. Waveclips, Curlers, Hairpins, Hair Grips. Manufacturers of Hard Haberdashery; Slumber Helmets; 'Glida' Bags and Beauty Pochettes; Gilt Jewellery; Fancy Metal Goods; "Stratton" Flapjacks**; Plastics; Combs; Sunglasses. (Fancy Goods Section - Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. G.2025) [3]

A new factory was built at Warstock Road, Birmingham, for the Twinco Moulding Division of the company and in the mid-1950s, in response to an export drive, the Fancy Metal Department was able to move to premises on the same Warstock Road site, where the company operated until it changed hands in the late 1990s.

In 1997 the company (then known as Laughton and Sons Ltd) sold the Stratton name to Cork International.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Stratton of England
  1. 1922 British Industries Fair p42
  2. 1929 British Industries Fair Advert 29; and p90
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 296; and p147