Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,139 pages of information and 245,599 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Elkington and Co

From Graces Guide
June 1890.


June 1893.
January 1899.
October 1903.
March 1922. Elkington Plate.
December 1928.
May 1931.
December 1960.

of Newhall Street, Birmingham. Showrooms at 22 Regent Street, London, SW. (1929)

of Lower Tower Street, Birmingham. (1937)

of Newhall Street, Birmingham. (1947)

1827 Mentioned. Elkington and Co, Birmingham, and the recovery of some stolen perfume bottles.[1]

1836/7 Began in Birmingham as a company of silversmiths. Devised a method of electro-plating and experimented with improving gilding techniques.

1838 George Richards Elkington, working with his cousin Henry Elkington, had discovered and patented a new way to electroplate one metal onto the surface of another.

See G. R. Elkington and Co

A local surgeon John Wright, having developed an experimental procedure for electroplating gold or silver, contacted Elkington and Co who paid him £300 for the rights to patent the procedure plus a further £500 when the patent (British Patent 8447) was approved in 1840. The process became widely used in preference to the dangerous techniques previously used and Wright benefited from a steady royalty income. Mr. Wright received a royalty of one shilling for every ounce of silver deposited, but after his death an annuity was paid to his widow instead of the royalty.

1840 Company founded. Production was already underway with silver electroplated wares. In March, a patent was granted for the process.

1842 April. Advertisement. 'PATENT ELECTRO-GILDING and SILVER PLATING. Manufacturers and others are informed, that the Patentees, ELKINGTON and CO., have OPENED a MANUFACTORY for the above process, at 45, Moorgate-street, where articles of every description, and in all kinds of metals, are gilt and plated. Old Sheffield plate and ormolu work replated and regilt.'[2]

1842 The company received financial backing from Josiah Mason (renaming the firm Elkington, Mason and Co between 1842 and 1861) and was extremely successful. It introduced electrotyping as a new method of production for silver plated items.

1843 Acquired Werner Siemens’ English patent for electro-gilding.

By 1848 had achieved commercial success

1849 Mention of this electro-plating business.[3]

1851 Elkington and Co exhibited at the Great Exhibition with enormous success.

1861 Company name reverted to Elkington and Co.

1885 Elkington registered designs by Christopher Dresser. Dresser's designs included tea services, sugar bowls, claret jugs, kettles, cruet stands, baskets, a tureen and a tankard. His models are recorded in Elkington's silver and plated ware pattern-books.

1887 Incorporated as a limited company.

1902 'The old electroplate works'. [4]

1907 Private company. The company was registered on 25 April, and is a reconstruction of a company of a similar title, to take over the business of the firm of the same name as goldsmiths, jewellers and silversmiths. [5]

1914 Gold and Silversmiths. Specialities: art metal work, bronzes and jewellery; are high-class manufacturers in gold and silver. [6]

1929 British Industries Fair Advert for Silver Craft Electro-Plate. Manufacturers of every description of Sterling Silver and Electro-plated Ware (Elkington Plate) and Cutlery. (Silver and Plate Section - Stand Nos. J.41 and J.56)

Also showing with the Birmingham Jewellers' and Silversmiths' Association. (Stand Nos. J.43 and J.54) [7]

1937 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Hot Die Pressings in Brass, Copper Bronze and Nickel, to close limits, for the motor, electrical, water and gas fittings and general engineering trades. (Stand No. D.201) [8]

1944 Company made public.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Silver Flatware, Table Ware, challenge Cups and Trophies. Gold Table Ware, Challenge cups and Trophies. Electro Plate Flatware, Table Ware, Hotel, Restaurant and Steamship Ware, Table Cutlery, Canteens and Cabinets. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. D.1606) [9]

1956 Delta Metal Co acquired Mansill, Booth and Co and Elkington and Co[10]

1961 Gold and silversmiths, electro-platers and cutlery manufacturers, hot stampers of non-ferrous metals. 560 employees. [11]

1968 IMI Ltd bought Elkington Copper Refiners

Elkington held Royal Warrants for Queen Victoria, King Edward VI, King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI. The Elkington and Co name is still in use today as manufacturers under the auspices of British Silverware Ltd.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Monday 04 June 1827
  2. Morning Post - Saturday 23 April 1842
  3. History and Directory of Birmingham, 1849
  4. Kelly’s Trade Directory 1902
  5. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  6. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  7. 1929 British Industries Fair Advert 131; and p55
  8. 1937 British Industries Fair p359
  9. 1947 British Industries Fair p93
  10. The Times Sept. 14, 1956
  11. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE