This is a list of some of the major producers of flatware, for canteens, from the end of the 19th Century through to the first half of the 20th Century – it is by no means exhaustive. You may wish to determine who made your items, research a prospective buy or simply be interested in the flatware and cutlery industry of the UK. We have not found a book or site on the web that provides this information en bloc, so we believe that this page is unique. We have used many different sources, some of it being contradictory, and we would be happy to include further information that you may have available. Please see the page on silver spoon makers for makers from the Georgian and early Victorian periods.
The period in question was the era that machine-made production took hold and the output of silver flatware escalated - from circa 1880. London hallmarked flatware during this period is generally seen to be more desirable (and therefore more expensive) as it probably would have been hand-made. This however is not always the case; a hallmark does not denote the place of manufacture merely the place of assay. The largest producers sent items to several different assay offices to bypass delays at their local office, therefore London hallmarked flatware by producers such as Walker & Hall, Wm. Hutton etc. would have been machine-made in Sheffield.
All of the manufacturers on this list are either based in London or Sheffield, the exceptions being Elkington & Co and Alexander Clark who were based in Birmingham and Josiah Williams & Co. of Bristol. Some were specialist cutlers (knife makers), buying-in the ready finished silver, some specialised in making flatware, whilst others were general silversmiths who offered a large range of items and not just flatware.
The maker’s marks illustrated in bold are the most commonly found. Trademarks are generally found on EPNS flatware, other silver plated items and engraved to knife blades; it was on these items that manufacturers applied the marks. As the assay office was responsible for stamping silver hallmarks, the trademark is rarely incorporated; exceptions to this include Walker & Hall and Joseph Rodgers & Sons.
Alexander Clarke Manufacturing Company Ltd.
Marks used:- A.C, AC/MCo, AC Co/Ld
Alexander Clark set up his business in London circa 1891. He formed an alliance with R F Mosley, the Sheffield cutler, in 1900. The factory was moved to Birmingham in 1909 and the company became the Alexander Clark Manufacturing Company. It is after this date that most silver flatware is found and it usually carries the Birmingham assay office mark, although London marked silver is found, particularly on hollowware.
Marks used:- H.A, HA
Trademark:- A hand grasping plumes
Henry Atkin set up as a spoon maker in 1841. He had three sons (Henry, Edward and Frank), who following his death took over the company. Atkin Brothers were a multi-product Sheffield company producing good quality items in silver and plate (the mark used on EPNS was HA EA FA), from 1853 to 1958. The firm had a retail outlet in London, where they also entered silver marks. The firm was acquired by C J Vander, in 1958.
Flatware bearing their maker’s mark is Sheffield marked and well made. In addition to the traditional patterns, in the first half of the 20th Century Atkin Brothers made a range of bespoke patterns, for example Rutland and Lancaster patterns.
Carrington & Co
Marks used:- J.B.C, C&Co
John Bodman Carrington entered his first mark at Goldsmiths Hall London in 1880. The company incorporated the Birmingham manufacturers G R Collis & Co and S W Smith & Co. Following J B Carrington’s retirement in 1906, the company was taken over by his two sons and became Carrington & Co.
The firm manufactured a range of silver items, including good quality flatware in the traditional patterns.
Charles Boyton & Sons
Marks used:- CB, C.B, CB/&/S
Charles Boyton is particularly well known in the world of English silver for his highly sought after Art Deco pieces. However, it is far less well known that his great grandfather founded the company in 1825 and the two intervening Charles Boyton’s continued the family business producing a lot of fairly ordinary silver flatware and it was in the time of the famous one that the company went bust! The name of the firm changed in 1904 to Charles Boyton & Son (the son being the famous one). The company collapsed in the early 1930’s although the firms’ name of Charles Boyton & Son continued to be used until 1977. The workshop producing beautifully designed Art Deco silver throughout the thirties was known as C. Boyton & Son Ltd.
Chawner & Co
Marks used:- WC, MC, MC/GA, GA
Chawner & Co was the most important maker of silver flatware through the 19th Century. They were a London based company, established in 1815 by William Chawner. They reached their peak under the stewardship of George Adams in the Victorian period, producing top quality hand-made flatware in a multitude of patterns. They ceased trading in 1883 when they were taken over by Aldwinckle & Slater. For more information see the biography on Chawner & Co.
C J Vander Ltd.
Marks used:-J.V, HV/AV CJV
For top quality, 21st Century British silver flatware, CJ Vander Ltd. lead the way. This is mainly due to the assortment of amalgamations and acquisitions over the years. Their roots date back to 1886 when Cornelius Joshua Vander purchased Macrae & Goldstein silversmiths.
Today the dies and tools used in their manufacture of silver flatware can be traced back to some of the greatest names in spoon making history; Eley, Fearn & Chawner, Chawner & Co., William Eaton, Elizabeth Eaton, Francis Higgins & Sons, Holland, Aldwinckle & Slater, Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co. Ltd., Henry Atkins, Robert & Belk, Mappin & Webb, Walker & Hall and Elkington & Co. . From this who's who of canteen makers, just imagine the wealth of invaluable experience of spoon making passed on between generations of masters and apprentices.
Marks used:- CB/&S
Cooper Brothers were a good quality Sheffield producer from 1850 to 1964. The maker's marks continued to be used beyond that date. Most of their production was in the standard patterns, but they did make some of their own designs - for example Sceptre Pattern in the early 60's.
Elkington & Co
Marks used:- EM&Co, FE, E&Co, E&CoLd
Elkington's silver mark (above) and plate mark (below)
Trademark:- a crown above E&CO
Elkington & Co. are one of the most important names in English silver and certainly the most important in silver plate - they invented it!
They began life in Birmingham as a company of silversmiths in 1836, and experimented with improving gilding techniques. By 1838 they had discovered and patented a new way to electroplate one metal on to the surface of another. By 1840 production was already underway with silver electroplated wares. The company received financial backing from Josiah Mason in 1842 (renaming the firm Elkington, Mason & Co between 1842 and 1861) and was extremely successful. It introduced electrotyping as a new method of production for silver plated items. Elkington & Co exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 with enormous success. They held Royal Warrants for Queen Victoria, King Edward VI, King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI.
As a company they produced huge quantities of EPNS flatware, and it is always the best quality that you can find, with the original silver plate generally still being in fine condition today. Elkington & Co developed a date lettering system, so all their silver plated items can be accurately dated. They produced silver flatware too, this can be found in both traditional and unique patterns.
The Elkington & Co. name is still in use today as manufacturers under the auspices of British Silverware Ltd.
Marks used:- FH, FH&S/Ltd
Second only to Chawner & Co in terms of their importance as producers of hand-made silver flatware in Victorian England, Francis Higgins produced some exquisite patterns and are notable for their designs for small serving items in particular caddy spoons.
Francis Higgins II first entered his mark at the London Assay office in 1817 as a plate worker, however the family's involvement in silversmithing can be traced back to 1782 when James Higgins, a spoon polisher, apprenticed his son Francis I as a spoon maker to John Manby. Francis Higgins II remained in business for the next 60 years until he died in 1880 when his son Francis III took over.
Francis Higgins and Sons (as the company had been called since 1868) bought Holland, Aldwinckle & Slater (purchasers of Chawner & Co in 1883) in 1922, but by 1940 the company had closed down.
George Maudsley Jackson
Marks used:- GMJ, GJ/DF
George Maudsley Jackson entered into partnership in 1883 with Josiah Williams of Josiah Williams & Co. of Bristol. He opened showrooms in London and entered his own assay mark. Following the death of Josiah Williams in 1894 the company continued to trade as Josiah Williams & Co. In 1897 George Jackson went into a new partnership with David Fullerton. The company produced some of the finest quality silver flatware of the period in most of the traditional patterns, still trading as Josiah Williams & Co. of Bristol, but today generally known as Jackson & Fullerton. The company closed down in 1940.
See also Josiah Williams & Co
Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company Ltd.
Marks used:- WG/JL, G&Sco/Ld
The company began trading in 1880 as the Manufacturing Goldsmiths and Slversmiths Ltd and was established by William Gibson and John Langman. They operated from London, and had marks at both London and Sheffield Assay Offices. In 1889 they acquired Mappin Brothers, quickly followed in 1893 with the Goldsmiths Alliance (A B Savory & Sons). Their interest in Mappin Brothers was later sold to Mappin & Webb in 1903.
The Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company Ltd., took over Garrard & Co. in 1952, and was later taken over itself in 1959 by Mappin & Webb.
Harrison Brothers & Howson
Marks used:- HH, HB&H
Trademark:- a five point crown
Originally known as Harrison Brothers (from 1849) this Sheffield manufacturer took on Howson as a partner in 1862. The majority of flatware produced by them was EPNS, however some silver items can be found. They also produced good quality cased sets of carvers, fruit eaters and fish eater/server sets. They still trade today.
Hawksworth, Eyre & Company
Marks used:- H.E/&CO, CH/JE, JKB/TH/GW, J.K.B, HE&CO/LD, HE/LD
A Sheffield based company who manufactured mostly silver plated flatware, but hallmarked silver items are to be found. They were established in 1833 and produced until just before the first World War.
Henry Wilkinson & Company
Marks used:- HW/&Co
Trademark:- a pair of crossed keys
This famous company of cutlers began life as producers of Sheffield Plate in 1828 and were the second Sheffield firm to receive a licence to begin electroplating in 1843. They went into liquidation in 1892 and were acquired by Walker & Hall.
Holland, Aldwinckle & Slater
Marks used:- HH, JA/JS, TS/WS/HH, HA/&/S
Henry Holland established the company as spoon makers in 1838 and was joined by his son Henry II in 1851, changing the company name to Holland & Son. The company's first major acquisition was made in 1866 when they bought Elizabeth Eaton & Son, a top quality spoon making firm with a long and fine history.
By 1880, Henry I had retired and two new partners were taken on; John Aldwinckle and James Slater. Henry II retired in 1883 and another major acquisition made; the purchase of Chawner & Co. from George Adams. Another famous silversmithing name, Robert Hennell & Sons, was bought in 1887. The company produced some of the finest silver flatware, around the turn of the Century. It was bought by Francis Higgins in 1922 but continued to trade under it's own name until 1932.
Jackson & Fullerton
Marks used:- GJ/DF
See George Maudsley Jackson and Josiah Williams & Co.
James Dixon & Sons
Marks used:- JD&S, JWD
Trademark:- trumpet & banner
James Dixon established his company in 1806, becoming "& Sons" in 1835. They produced a large variety of goods, from Britannia metal articles, EPNS, to good quality silver.
Their JD&S mark is easily mistaken for James Deakin & Sons, however in the absence of trademarks the "JD&S" of James Dixon & Sons is always on a single line.
The company acquired the firm of William Hutton & Sons Ltd. in 1930 and it remained in the hands of the Dixon family until 1976.
James Deakin & Sons Ltd.
Marks used:- JD/WD, JD/&S
Trademark:- a table lamp
Beginning life as James Deakin & Co in 1868, James Deakin & Sons came into being in 1871 and existed as a Sheffield manufacturer of silver & plate until 1936. Their "JD&S" mark is easily mistaken for James Dixon & Sons, however in the absence of trademarks the "JD&S" of James Deakin & Sons is always "JD" over "&S".
John Nowill & Sons
Marks used:- JN&S, JN
Trademark:- crossed keys, * over "D"
Established in 1700 by Thomas Nowill as a maker of knives, this company produced some of the finest quality Sheffield made cutlery. Silver flatware is extremely rare and their name is mainly to be found on knives and EPNS items. They received the Royal command to supply King Edward VII.
John Round & Son Ltd.
Marks used:- JR/ER, J.R&SnLd, JR (in oval punch)
Trademark:- a ball surrounded by the words "ALL THE ROUND" within a circle
John Round began his Sheffield business in 1847 as a supplier to William Huttons. By the late 1800’s they began to produce large quantities of flatware. There maker’s mark is often mistaken as being Joseph Rodgers & Sons, however the oval shaped punch (with outline) distinguishes it. Ironically, Joseph Rodgers & Sons bought the company, in 1932.
Joseph Rodgers & Sons Ltd.
Marks used:- I.R, JR (with addition of star and Maltese cross trademarks)
Joseph Rodgers' plate mark (above) & silver mark (below)
Trademarks:- star and Maltese cross
Starting life in 1724 (although other sources suggest 1682), Joseph Rodgers & Sons are one of the longest established cutlery companies in Sheffield. They were granted the Royal warrant in 1821 by George IV, this accolade continuing through the reign of Queen Victoria and they proudly display their "by appointment" on knife blades. They produced a large amount of silver and plated flatware, but are particularly well known for the fine quality of their knives and carving sets.
Joseph Rodgers & Sons were taken over in 1975, but their name and trademarks are still used.
Josiah Williams & Company
Marks used:- RW, RW/JW/JW, JW/&/JW, JW/&Co., GMJ, GJ/DF
Robert Williams of Bristol first entered his mark at the Exeter Assay Office in 1832. He was joined in 1846 by his two sons; James and Josiah, and it was these two that carried the company forward, as Williams Brothers, following Robert's death circa 1854.
The company make an interesting exception to the dominance of London and Sheffield based producers. They produced huge amounts of fairly average quality silver flatware, plus good amounts of attractive hollow ware. James and Josiah Williams production was mainly responsible for keeping the Exeter Assay Office busy during this period and the eventual closure of the office in 1882 is undoubtedly linked to the retirement of Josiah Williams in 1879 and the hallmarking of company products in London, under the George Maudsley Jackson name.
Josiah Williams & Co. continued to trade under the leadership of George Maudsley Jackson and David Fullerton from Bristol until 1940. For more information on the company during this period please see under George Maudsley Jackson.
Mappin & Webb
Marks used:- JNM/GW, JNM, M&W
Mappin & Webb were established in 1797, but it was not until the late 19th Century that they emerged as one of the largest manufacturers and retailers of silver in the UK. In the late 19th Century two branches of the Mappin family competed: Mappin & Webb and Mappin Brothers, before joining forces in 1902 when Mappin & Webb bought the controlling interest from the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company Ltd..
Mappin & Webb, as a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Ltd., acquired J W Benson Ltd., Ollivant & Botsford and the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company Ltd. amongst a list of many others. In the early 1960’s, they combined with Walker & Hall and Elkington & Co, and are still active today as retailers under the auspices of British Silverware Ltd. They produced large quantities of machine-made flatware in both silver and EPNS.
Martin, Hall & Company Ltd.
Marks used:- J.R/E.H, RM/EH, MH/&/CoLd,
The original founder of this Sheffield firm, John Roberts, was in partnership with Henry Wilkinson. However, this partnership was dissolved in 1836 and his new apprentice, Ebenezer Hall, eventually became his partner in 1846.
In 1854 Roberts & Hall joined forces with Martin & Naylor to form Martin, Hall & Company. The company prospered, producing good quality silver and plate and sent their wares for hallmarking in London, Chester and Sheffield. In 1914 the company employed approximately 750 people. After the First World War business declined and the company went bankrupt in 1936.
Robert & Belk
Marks used:- R&B, SR/CB, C.B, C.B/E.P
Trademark:- Aladdin’s lamp
The Roberts family founded the firm in 1810. Samuel Roberts went into partnership with Charles Belk in 1864. Roberts & Belk produced some of the best quality Sheffield made silver flatware.
The company was taken over by CJ Vander in the early 60’s but their name and trademark survives.
Thomas Bradbury & Sons Ltd.
Marks used:- TB/&S, JB/EB, TB/JH, T.B.
Trademark:- a crown surmounted by a cross
Thomas Bradbury & Sons were manufacturers based in Arundel Street, Sheffield from 1832 to 1916, however the company’s origins can be traced back even further to the late 19th Century when it was known as Fenton, Creswick & Co which was one of the original companies to enter a mark at the newly opened Sheffield assay office in 1773. Thomas Bradbury I became a partner in the company in 1795.
Thomas Bradbury and sons are particularly well known for reviving many earlier styles of spoons in the early 20th Century. Good quality copies of trefids, lacebacks, seal tops and picture backs can be found in addition to the standard patterns.
The company was closed down in 1943, its’ dies & tooling were bought by Atkin Brothers.
Marks used:- EV
Trademark:- a five point crown
A large Sheffield based out-fit founded in 1900 and the most well-known Sheffield manufacturer from the 1930’s to 60’s. Much of their flatware is fairly average in quality, but they were innovative in producing new patterns and followed trends rather than solely churning out traditional patterns. One of their most popular patterns is Sandringham, which was aimed at the Art Deco market of the early 30's. They went out of business in 1982.
Wakely & Wheeler
Marks used:- HJL/JW, JW/FCW, &/WW
Wakely and Wheeler were a continuation of the spoon making company of Lias Brothers, which traces it's roots back to 1791. Henry John Lias went into partnership with James Wakely in 1879 for five years before retiring. At this point Frank Clarke Wheeler, a former apprentice of Henry John Lias, became a partner.
Following Frank Clarke Wheeler's death in 1916, the company stayed in the hands of the Wakely family until acquired by Padgett & Braham Ltd. in 1958. The company is still active today trading under the familiar Wakely & Wheeler name.
Walker & Hall
Marks used:- JEB, JEB/FEB, W&H
Walker & Hall's silver mark (above) and plate mark (below)
Trademark:- W&H within a flag
Beginning life in the mid 1800’s Walker & Hall were one of the largest manufacturers and retailers of silver and plate from the late 19th Century and first half of the 20th Century. Their products can be found with London, Sheffield and Chester hallmarks. The original partnership, including George Walker, traded as Walker & Co.. Henry Hall joined the partnership in 1848, the firm was renamed Walker, Coulson & Hall, before becoming just Walker & Hall in 1853.
The name is still used for retail outlets, although they were taken over by Mappin & Webb in the 1960’s. They were top quality machine-made producers of all major flatware patterns and canteens and their products are easily recognised by their distinctive W&H mark within a flag.
William Hutton & Sons Ltd.
Marks used:- EH, W/SsHLd/&, WH & S (on EPNS items)
Trademark:- 6 (or sometimes 8) crossed arrows
Huttons are a long established and very large scale producer, starting life in 1800 and it’s name is still trading today, although it was taken over in 1930 by James Dixon & Sons. Much of their early success was due to the licence granted to them by Elkington & Co. to use their recently invented electroplating process. Huttons developed a new nickel alloy in the late 19th Century that was ideal for plating purposes. It was called British Plate and is identifiable on EP flatware by the "BP" mark.
They are an example of a company who machine-made silver flatware in Sheffield and sent them to be hallmarked in London. Huttons are also renown for the quality of their arts and crafts silverware, mostly designed by Kate Harris, at the turn of the 19th/20th Centuries.
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