A Very Fine Victorian Royal Elkington & Co. Sterling Silver Jardiniere
Maker: Elkington and Co.
Stamped: E&C.L,Lion,r, Anchor, Elkington Kc
UK, Circa 1891
Weight: 3011 grams, 96.8 Ounces
Elkington was born in Birmingham, the son of a spectacle manufacturer. Apprenticed to his uncles' silver plating business in 1815, he became, on their death, sole proprietor of the business, but subsequently took his cousin, Henry Elkington, into partnership. The science of electrometallurgy was then in its infancy, but the Elkingtons were quick to recognize its possibilities. They had already taken out certain patents for the application of electricity to metals when, in 1840, John Wright, a Birmingham surgeon, discovered the valuable properties of a solution of cyanide of silver in potassium cyanide for electroplating purposes. The Elkingtons purchased and patented Wright's process (British Patent 8447 : Improvements in Coating, Covering, or Plating certain Metals), subsequently acquiring the rights of other processes and improvements. In 1843 Elkingtons acquired the rights to Werner von Siemens's first invention, an improvement to the gold and silver plating process
The Elkingtons opened a new electroplating works in Newhall Street, in theJewellery Quarter, Birmingham in 1841, and the following year Josiah Mason, apen manufacturer, joined the firm and encouraged the Elkingtons to diversify their output, adding more affordable electroplated jewellery and cutlery to the large pieces the company had been producing. Electroplated wares became very successful in the Victorian market and by 1880 the company employed 1,000 people at the Newhall Street site and had a further six factories. The agreement between Elkington and Mason was dissolved on 31 December 1861, after which the company traded as Elkington and Co
There is a Blue Plaque commemorating him on the old Elkington Silver Electroplating Works (The old Science Museum), Newhall Street, Birmingham