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Kalfred

Henry Wilkinson Electroplate Manufacturers

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Hello, earlier this week I needed to look into some history and geography of the Sheffield electroplating company of “Henry Wilkinson”. I referred here to the Forum but I was only overwhelmed with posts about pubs and beerhouses. I think I must bring a little sobriety to the City immediately.

Henry Wilkinson & Company started electroplating in 1843. 
They were the second firm in Sheffield to receive a licence to electroplate and they became Ltd. in 1872.

The “Sheffield Indexers” have references for a Henry Wilkinson electroplater before that period though.

Wilkinson, Henry (, Silver and Plated Manufacturers).
     Address: South Street, Park, in 1828-9.
     Recorded in: Pigot's Commercial Directory - 1828 to 1829.

Wilkinson, Henry (, silver plate manfr.).
     Address: h. Low Street, Park, in 1833.
     Recorded in: Whites History & Directory of Sheffield - 1833.

Wilkinson, Henry (, silver plate manfr.).
     Address: h. Pond Hill Terrace, in 1833.
     Recorded in: Whites History & Directory of Sheffield - 1833.


Following those entries are 3 more that I assume refer to the “Company”.

WILKINSON, Henry (Qualifying property, Warehouse and shops, Norfolk Street).
     Address: Endcliffe, Sheffield in 1843 - 1844.
     Recorded in: Sheffield Burgess Rolls.

WILKINSON, Henry (Qualifying property, House and shop, 14 Broad Street).
     Address: Broad Street, Sheffield in 1864-65.
     Recorded in: Sheffield Burgess Rolls

WILKINSON, Henry (Qualifying property, Warehouse and shops, Norfolk Street).
     Address: Endcliffe, Sheffield in 1864-65.

     Recorded in: Sheffield Burgess Rolls.

Now I think I can ask my question. Below are 2 images with electroplate marks usually attributed to “Henry Wilkinson”.

790350413_Henrywilkinsonmark.jpg.1412fa6e0f36d58fc3993ac9cf8a06c5.jpg

1183544865_HenryWilkinsonCo.jpg.f8088d85b2fbbc3b71ba27174a2df271.jpg

The trio were taken from the net but the single is the mark on a spoon I bought nearly 10 years ago. The pictorial “cross keys” as I understand it, was granted in 1784 by the "Cutlers Company" to "John Parsons & Co" a forerunner company of “Wilkinsons”. The “S” mark was regularly used to indicate Sheffield manufactured electroplated items. My question is about the probable fancy “M”. This is where the geography comes in. Could it be an indicator of a particular area of Sheffield? If not does anyone else have any ideas?

Walker and Hall took over “Henry Wilkinson” in 1892 but may have continued to use the name and “mark” for a while. I also found a reference that gave a date of 1828 for the founding of the “Wilkinson” concern. 

To round off the extra information I will add that Henry Wilkinson had various silver marks registered with the Sheffield Silver Assay Office from 1831 to 1893. "Norfolk Street" was the address and from 1845 onwards the marks were very similar to the “HW&Co” mark shown in the trio image. There were marks also registered at the London Assay office.

Do please add where there are omissions and correct any errors in my observations.

Kalfred   

 

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There is more information here:   http://www.silvercollection.it/ENGLAWILKINSON.html

From the same site: "There was no legal requirement to mark electroplated goods and any letter, symbol or number punched in silverplate wares is part of the individual trademark used by manufacturers to customize their own production. Silverplate was used by lower classes as an affordable substitute of sterling silver and UK makers, to gratify the ambition of their customers, often adopted punches composed of a sequence of symbols and letters similar to that used by Assay Offices for sterling silver hallmarking.To prevent abuses and to avoid confusion, the 'crown' symbol in silver plate wares was banned in 1896, reserving its use to sterling silver hallmarked by Sheffield Assay Office.

However, the use of pseudo hallmarks was a common practice in the Victorian era and most UK manufacturers adopted trade marks consisting in their initials coupled to '&', 'S' (for Sons or Sheffield), 'EP' (for Electro Plate) and a profusion of symbols inside outlines of various shape (circles, shields, squares) obtaining a result very similar to that present in sterling silver wares. Even the sequence indicating EPNS (Electro Plated Nickel Silver) or EPBM (Electro Plated Britannia Metal) was often made in manner to mislead an inexperienced observer.


The adoption of initials, instead of manufacturer's name, has had the consequence that many UK trade marks are still now unidentified

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