Ralph and Jordan
(J. A. Jordan & Sons Ltd)

Beehive Works, Earl Street, Bilston

Advertisements and Miscellaneous enamelled products

It seems that Jordans could and would enamel anything, though there is no indication that they ever went in for the small scale decorative enamels that Bilston is famous for.  But they enamelled Bilston Knights and other hearth furniture and these, and doubtless much else, they enamelled for other people.  One of their surviving catalogues shows, in addition to advertising plates, other products of Jordan's own.  They are all made out of sheet steel and are very similar in materials and production methods to the advertising signs.
These decorative sheets might have had many uses.  The catalogue refers to them as Hearth Plates and Wall Linings.  The hearth plate would have been fitted in front of the fire to catch sparks and ashes.  The wall linings could have been used in place of tiles.
These are two examples of reflectors - that is, reflectors for electric (and possibly gas) lights.

Street name plates were commonly made out of cast iron or ceramic tiles.  This sort of enamelled iron plate might have been a cheaper alternative.
Local authority and private transport undertakings very commonly used enamelled signs for bus stops and many other purposes.  We have already seen, on the front page, how British Rail used enamelled signs, made by Jordans, very extensively.

Municipal authorities had many uses for enamelled signs.  This one, and variations of it, used to be a favourite - but you don't see them often these days.  Is that because local councils eventually realised that no one took any notice of them anyway.
In addition to the famous wall mounted advertising signs Jordans also made projecting, swinging signs.  These would have been decorated on both sides, usually with the same design on both sides.  The signs which projected but were fixed to the wall through a flange also had a design on both sides.  The wall mounted signs would have plain backs with counterenamel on them - that is enamel fired on to the back to even up the stresses on the two sides and stop the whole thing buckling. 

The signs did not have to be for advertising.  They could be for almost any purpose:

Foreign scripts were no barrier - Arabic to the left, Cyrillic to the right.

This is a very technical advertisement for Thompson boilers.  Why this Bilston form decided that this advert needed the permanence of enamel is not known - or even guessed at.

Jordans advertising signs were fixed to any sort of wall where they woould be visible and there was space.  On the following pages there are examples of the signs shown on brick walls.

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first brick wall