G. T. Lawley, in his History of Bilston, writes:
A firm well-known in the trade for the manufacture of
tin-plate goods, but especially of steel trunks, is that of Messrs. T.
Johnson & Co., of the Princess Street Works. The business has been
carried on here for more than half a century, originally by Mr. Anthony
Hyde, subsequently by Mr. E. H. Busby, a nephew of the above, who
brought out several new patents, and materially enlarged the business.
The cash box branch developed so much that new premises
had to be erected. In recent years the demand for cash boxes has
materially slackened through the growth of the "safe" trade, and its
more modern substitute "check tills," now so generally used by
tradesmen. The travelling trunk trade, however, took the place of the
cash boxes as an article of manufacture, and now, the existing firm
carry on an extensive business in this class of goods.
Mrs. Busby after her husband's death married Mr. T.
Johnson, who took over the business. In 1878 Mr. G. H. Shackleton the
present principal became manager, and since then the business has grown
so much that the firm has recently taken to the works formerly carried
on by Messrs. T. Jones & Son, in Cambridge Street. It will thus
be seen that the Japan trade and its congeners play a very important
part in the industrial resources of the township.