Some of the names of Birmingham Brassmakers whose
products can still be found by collectors.
© Vin Callcut 2012.
Birmingham brass manufacturers helped the city prosperity
tremendously yet there is very little information on websites found so far
that records the history of the most successful firms making domestic brass
and copperware. Some are mentioned here and more details will be
added. The names of the ones mentioned have appeared on items
Index to Birmingham Makers
The list represents only a small fraction of the many
hundreds of firms that have worked with brass and copper in Birmingham since
the 1660s, see the tables below.
Many of the marks of makers in Birmingham include a 'B'
after the company initials :
These are the marks of William Soutter and
Names of firms located in the Black Country can be found
in the main listing and on the Wolverhampton Historical Society website.
Names of many other firms working in the Birmingham area
can be found at:
Links for other information will be included as available,
address to the Birmingham Metallurgical Society.
By L. G. Beresford, B.Sc., F.I.M
.A Brief Review of the
Development of the Copper, Zinc and Brass Industries in Great Britain from
AD 1500 to 1900. by
W O Alexander,
Brass Company USA
Brass Making in the Naugatuck
Birmingham Post Office Directory 1872
To sample just one
of the directories in Birmingham Central Library, this is the count of those
active in some of the trade categories :
Makers of Brass
As with all such
directories, the categories will not be precise. The difference between
brass founders and casters is not obvious. Sheet work for trays and
holloware was done by the tinmen and braziers. Candlesticks would have been
made in many of the foundries. Most firms would have their own finishing
and polishing shops.
By 1872, the brass
industry had already been established in Birmingham for centuries. Most
firms had been in the directories for decades. After this time changes were
more rapid with mergers and take-overs resulting in larger and larger
organisations. Many lasted until the late 20th century; some are
See table below for more data.
'Brummagem' is a
slang version of 'Birmingham', which is a version of 'Bromwicham', itself a
version of 'Brimidgeham', the old name for 'Birmingham'. The 'Bromwicham'
form persists in the name of a town to the west of Birmingham - 'West
Many of the manufacturers
in the directories would act as sub-contractors to others, producing parts
for finishing, assembly and sale elsewhere. They would therefore not be
using their own name to mark their products. The list alongside includes
mainly manufacturers who did mark their products and made them in sufficient
quantity for them still to be found second hand today. It represents only a
small fraction of the firms who helped to make the City of Birmingham a
prosperous and vital manufacturing community for many years.