Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,416 pages of information and 233,868 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Birmingham Metal Co

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Before 1780 the consumption of brass by the industries of Birmingham was being satisfied by smelters in Bristol, Cheadle and, later, also Macclesfield.

1780 The brass manufacturing combination increased its prices to Birmingham customers by 15%. On 18 August 19 Birmingham businesses met at the 'Swan' in Bull St, Birmingham, to protest against this increase and called for a breaking of the monopoly. The result was the formation of a Birmingham-owned business. Each firm present at the meeting agreed to put in £100; the new firm gathered information on the business practices, methods and means of production of the Bristol company.

1781 The partners established the Birmingham Metal Company with a capital of £20,000 in 200 shares with no one owning more than 4 shares. The Birmingham location enabled the company to take advantage of the new canals in the region. It joined with Parys Mine Co to work outside the old cartel.

1790 After the failure of various schemes to provide Birmingham with its own smelters, the manufacturers set up the Birmingham Mining and Copper Co on similar lines to the Birmingham Metal Company, with smelting works at Swansea.


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Sources of Information

  • Living Easton [1]