moon NewsProject infoContactLinksQuicksearch Players
Time People Place Theme Articles Learning Gallery Library Album Players
crumb trail Home : Exhibition
Print page
resource display striped logo

The Brass Industry and Brass Workers in Birmingham

The Brass Industry and Brass Workers in Birmingham

 

1700 - 1830 (c.)

Caption: Brass Door Furniture from William Tonks and Sons, Catalogue of the Various Kinds of Work (Birmingham, 1880), p 318. An example of the wide range of items produced by one Birmingham brass manufacturer.

[Image from: Birmingham Central Library, Local Studies and History]

Text: Doreen Hopwood

Image Captions: Malcolm Dick

Summary

The brass trade has left its mark on the English language - we refer to people as having a “brass neck” and we get down to “brass tacks” when we mean business. Our bosses can be referred to as “top brass” or “brass hats” and our brassworking ancestors may well have been “brassed off” by the tedious and repetitive nature of their work!

Large profits were to be made from brass and the numbers of foundries, factories and manufactories grew at an alarming rate from the late eighteenth century. By the mid nineteenth century the manufacture of every conceivable item that could be made of brass - from tacks to bedsteads and gas fittings - were being produced in huge quantities, with Birmingham being one of the main centres for the trade.

Sections: [Click on the images on the right to access each section]

1. The Early Brass Trade
2. The Origins of the Brass Industry in the Midlands and Birmingham
3. Innovation in the Midlands Brass Industry
4. Brassworking Skills in Birmingham
5. Demand for Birmingham Brass in Britain and Abroad
6. Entrepreneurship 1: Birmingham Brassfounders and the Building of the Brass House
7. Entrepreneurship 2: The Birmingham Metal Company and the The Birmingham Metal and Copper Company
8. The Organisation of the Birmingham Workforce
9. Working Practices and Conditions in the Birmingham Brass Industry
10. Trades Unions
11. Conclusion: Further Investigation
12. Glossary

Sources and Further Reading

Aitken, W C, Brass and Brass Manufactures (1865/6)
Best, R D, Brass Chandelier: A Biography of R H Best of Birmingham (Allen & Unwin, 1940)
The Book of Trades, or Library of the Useful Arts, part III, third edition (London, Tabart and Co, 1805).
Cadbury, Edward, Women’s Work and Wages: a phase of life in an industrial city (Fisher-Unwin, 1906).
Davis, W J, A Short History of the Brass Trade (1892).
Everleigh, David J, Brass and Brassware (Princes Risborough, Shire Publications, 1995).
Hamilton, Henry, The English Brass and Copper Industries to 1800, second edition, (Frank Cass & Co., 1967).
“The Homes of our Metal Manufactures. Messrs R W Winfield and Co’s Cambridge Street Works & Rolling Mills, Birmingham”, in Martineau & Smith’s Hardware Trade Journal
(January 31)
Hutton, William, The History of Birmingham (Birmingham, Pearson and Rollason, 1791).
Hutton, William, The History of Birmingham, sixth edition (Birmingham, James Guest,1835)
The Useful Arts and Manufactures of Great Britain, second part (London, SPCK nd)
William Tonks, Sons & Co., Catalogue of the Various Kinds of Work (1880).

add to album zoomify image

File Download:
Unknown File Type The Brass Industry and Brass Workers in Birmingham [Text only version] (39 kb)
Unknown File Type The Brass Industry and Brass Workers in Birmingham (36 kb)

Related Themes:
1701-1723
1724-1740
1741-1755
1756-1764
1765-1775
1776-1783
1784-1791
1792-1802
1803-1815
1816-1830
Birmingham
Brass Trade
Business and Employment
Work, Pay & Conditions

Image Credits:

Donor Ref: ' L62.65  (49/2022)'
Copyright information: Copyrights to all resources are retained by the individual rights holders. They have kindly made their collections available for non-commercial private study & educational use. Re-distribution of resources in any form is only permitted subject to strict adherence to the guidelines in the Full Terms and Conditions statement.
Page 1 of 3 | next >

Brazier

spacer

1. The Early Brass Trade

See/Read more

Manufacture of Brass

spacer

2. The Origins of the Brass Industry in the Midlands and Birmingham

See/Read more

Manufacture of Brass

spacer

3. Innovation in the Midlands Brass Industry

See/Read more

Frontispiece of Catalogue of William Tonks & Sons, Brassfounders and Manufacturers

spacer

4. Brassworking Skills in Birmingham

See/Read more
Page 1 of 3 | next >
blue line
spacer