A British history of 'German silver': part II: 1829-1924

Grant, Alistair (2017) A British history of 'German silver': part II: 1829-1924. Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 24. pp. 48-79. ISSN 1359-124 X

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Abstract

Part II (of a two-part essay), published over two journals, which chronicles the history of the commercial manufacture in Britain of ‘German silver’ (more commonly known today as ‘nickel silver’). Part II chronicles the development of the German silver industry in Britain in the period 1829-1924, and analyses the alloy’s commercial application to industrial art and design from the late Regency era through the long Victorian and Edwardian period until the First World War. The essay chronicles the establishment by Percival Norton Johnson of Britain’s first nickel refinery on Bow Common and German silver manufactory at Hatton Gardens in London in 1829. It then analyses Johnson’s supplier-manufacturer relationship with the successful family firm of close-platers William Hutton and Son. Working together, Johnson in London, William Hutton in Birmingham and his son William Carr Hutton in Sheffield, the three men established a crucial nexus in the German silver trade that linked the three important metalworking communities of Britain. The essay then examines the commercial growth of the German silver industry in Birmingham, which was begun by [Henry and Theophilus] H. & T. Merry and then greatly developed by Charles Askin, Brooke Evans, and Henry Wiggin. The huge success of Evans and Askin, and then Wiggin who continued their business, supplied a steadily growing demand for German silver in close- plate, fused-plate and electro-plate design in Britain during the 19th-century. The essay concludes with an analysis of Harry Brearley’s discovery of ‘rustless steel’ at the Brown Firth Research Laboratories in August 1913, and W.H. Hatfield’s subsequent addition of nickel in the development of ‘stainless steel’ between 1916-1924.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Art History
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts > NK1160 Decoration and ornament. Design
T Technology > T Technology (General) > T0391 Exhibitions. Trade shows. World's fairs
T Technology > TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy > TN0600 Metallurgy
T Technology > TP Chemical technology > TP0250 Industrial electrochemistry
T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS0200 Metal manufactures. Metalworking
Depositing User: Alistair Grant
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2017 13:47
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2018 11:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70320

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