General Metal and Holloware

Midland Metal Spinning

Tower and Fort Works, Pelham Street

Tower's splendid advert reflects Wolverhampton's importance in holloware generally, not just in non-stick pans.

The company was founded in 1919 by George Cadman, who was then 65 years old, as a holloware company, in St. Mark's Street.   At some time they moved into the Tower and Fort Works in Pelham Street, presumably when Clyno vacated them.

Midland Metal Spinners had two important brands: Presto and Tower.  It seems that the Tower brand name came from the name of the works and not the other way round, as Tower Works were so called in the 19th century.  The story of these works and their other occupants, and photos of the buildings to-day, appear elsewhere in this Museum.  The Presto brand was used by a subsidiary company, The National Pressure Cooking Co. (England) Ltd., which occupied Fort Works; the parent company occupied Tower Works.

The Presto brand mainly made pressure cookers, coffee makers and singing kettles.  Tower made every other sort of domestic holloware.

The advert on the left is from the catalogue of the British Industries Fair of 1950, held in Birmingham.  That on the right is from 1953.  MMS obviously felt a need to use colour to brighten up the dull looking pots and pans.

This advert comes from 1952.  The company seems to have felt that the idea of using a pressure cooker still needed to be got across. They point out that "cooking time cut by three-quarters, which means cheaper fuel bills"; and that "the natural goodness of the meat and richness of the vegetables are deliciously brought out".

There are three models: the popular, at 77s. 6d.; and the large at 105s.

The front cover of a recipe book, probably from the late 1950s. The models then offered were in four sizes, all in aluminium.

The recipe book contains detailed instructions on use and care as well as recipes - which include one for "Steamed Canary Pudding" - but this seems to be a sponge dessert rather than a meat dish.


A later pressure cooker and its recipe booklet.  The cooker itself has not changed that much but the style has. Thanks to the Angeline Johnson collection for the loan of two recipe books.

In their entry in the 1953 Official Handbook, the company says that "Concurrently with the search for new materials and machinery, improved methods and better factory layout, has gone the welfare and contentment of employees.  The factories are provided with pleasant canteens where food is served under ideal conditions, and surgeries under the control of fully-trained nurses guard the health of workers and give prompt and skilled attention in the event of accidents - happily reduced to a minimum by the adoption of every possible safety measure".

An advert from 1958.

The items above, all marked "Tower" on the base, suggest that at some point the company decided there was a market for cheap chrome wares, including a set (bottom right) with a kind of golden finish.  The designs are quite good but the chrome is garish. There was an enormous range of these wares.

At some point the company became associated with Russsell Hobbs.  And they left Wolverhampton and went to Wombourne.  But all other details of their history seem to be lost.

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