James Fellows & Co

Tin trays, brassware, and stamping

The earliest date to which this firm has been traced is 1865 when an entry in Jones's Mercantile Directory for that year reads:  "Fellows, Jas & Son, tray mfrs (blank), Pool Street works".  But there is also an entry:  "Fellows, Jas & Edgar. hollow ware mfrs & iron braziers, Vulcan Works".

In the next available directory, White's Directory for 1869, the entry under Pool Street, in the part of that street which lies between Ablow Street and Jeddo Street, reads:  "100: Fellows, Edgar, iron brazier   100: Fellows, James, blank tray maker."  The entry in the trades section also has:  "Fellows, James, blank tray maker, 100 Pool Street" and "Fellows, Samuel, James & Edgar, Vulcan Works, Graiseley Row". 

Crocker's Directory of 1884 shows "Fellows, James and Son, blank tray manufacturer, Poole Street" and another entry gives the same information but with 100 & 101 Poole Street".

This suggests that James Fellows and Son made tray blanks at 100 Pool Street.  And that the same James Fellows, along with Edgar Fellows (probably a brother) made holloware in Vulcan Works, Graiseley Row.   By 1869 Edgar is operating as an iron brazier, sharing the Pool Street works with James, who continued to make tray blanks there.  But the two of them, joined by Samuel (possibly another brother or, maybe a son) also operated a general holloware business in Graiseley Row. 

The firm of Samuel, James and Edgar Fellows, is clearly the firm which became S. J. & E. Fellows.

James's tray blanks would have been sold to many firms who would have engraved or japanned them before resale. 

The brass tray illustrated here has a mark on the back consists simply of the words "James Fellows & Son" and "Wolverhampton" around a kite registration mark. The year is 1878. 

This tray is the only example of James Fellows work which has ever been identified.  Of course, his blank trays would not have been marked, but his brass and copper wares would have been.  The suggestion is that his production was very limited and, perhaps, did not last for long.

It seems likely that James Fellows was finding demand for blank trays to be falling off, as japanned wares became generally less popular.  He had therefore decided to try something else and had embarked on making the increasingly popular brass and copper wares.

Presumably James Fellows would have expected to use his contacts gained through S. J. & E. Fellows to sell them direct to wholesalers and retailers.

Courtesy of Dave Burk.

The Wolverhampton County Borough Directory of 1954 includes the following entries:

Fellows, James & Son, Enamelled Holloware, Pool Street Stamping Works.
Fellows, S. J. & E. Limited, Stampers, Vulcan Works.

Both businesses are listed in Kelly's Directory of Wolverhampton for 1962. S. J. & E. Fellows Limited is described as a holloware manufacturer, elevator bucket manufacturer, and producer of steel metal pressings in mild stainless steel, and aluminium.

Vulcan Works stood in Graiseley Row, on the corner of Pool Street, alongside the Queens Arms pub. Image courtesy of Dave Burk.
The site of Vulcan Works is now occupied by the Fellows division of the Rical Group.

The factory produces presswork, assembly and catering products.

Two views of a token dated 1826 which may have been issued by the firm in its early years.

Courtesy of Dave Burk.

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