George Richards Elkington (1801-1865), the son of a spectacle manufacturer, became sole proprietor a silver plating business belonging to two of his uncles' upon their death. He had been apprenticed to them since 1815. He subsequently took his cousin, Henry Elkington (1810-1852), into partnership and formed Elkington & Co, and they, along with others, began experimenting with electroplating base metals during the 1830s. In 1838 they patented their method of electro-deposition of silver on metal. They bought out competing patent-holders, though they later licensed their process to various firms in England and abroad. In 1841 the Elkington & Co opened a new electroplating works in Newhall Street, Birmingham, with additional premises in London. In 1842 the Elkington cousins took on a third partner, Josiah Mason, one of the inventors of the steel pen nib. Electroplated wares became increasingly popular and by 1880 the company employed 1000 people at the Newhall Street site and had a further six factories. In 1943 Elkington & Co was acquired by 'Mercury Securities'. At this time the company was heavily engaged in war work. In 1949 copper was at a premium and Mercury Securities decided that Elkington & Co should re-enter the copper-refining field. A 16 ½ acre site was acquired in Goscote Lane, Walsall, and a former leather works was converted into a refinery. In 1944 Elkington Ltd moved from Birmingham to join the subsidiary and the hot brass pressings division, 'British Silverware Ltd', followed in 1954. In 1955 Mercury Securities disposed of both Elkington Ltd and British Silverware Ltd to the 'Delta Metals Group', and retained only the copper-refining subsidiary. The works was extended in 1966, and in 1968 a tin-recovery plant was added. The chief product has been copper cathodes, which were still made in 1974, but copper alloy ingots were also cast there until 1968. In 1986 IMI Ltd bought Elkington Copper Refiners Ltd, Goscote Works in Walsall.
Have you found an error with this catalogue description? Let us know