General Metal and Holloware

Orme Evans & Co. Ltd.

Elgin Works, Great Brickkiln Street

The company was certainly well established, and making a wide range of goods in a wide range of materials and finishes, when, in 1902, John Marston sold to them his tinsmithing, enamelling and japanning business.  This was situated at Jeddo Works in Jeddo Street.  It had been Marston's original business, bought by him when Edward Perry (of Richard Perry Son & Co) died in 1871.   He sold the firm, but not its premises, to Orme Evans in order to concentrate on the manufacture of bicycles.  Marston, of course, retained his "Sunbeam" trade mark;  Orme Evans may already have been using "Prince of Wares".

At this time Marston had been making domestic wares in brass and copper though not, to judge by surviving examples, on a large scale.  Brass and copperwares by Orme Evans are also known.  It may be that this production pre-dates the acquisition of Marston's business or it may be that Orme Evans took up this sort of work on making the acquisition.  

This large (6 pints) brass ewer was made by Orme Evans, possibly around the turn of the century.

Many other companies made such ewers and there is not much, apart from the exact shape of the handle, to distinguish one from another.  

By this time many makers were marking their goods.  This is the mark on the base of the ewer shown above.  It consists of the letters O, E and Co with an ampersand. The 6 beneath it shows the capacity of the ewer in pints.

Orme Evans' enamelled wares seem not to have been marked and were probably sold with a paper label stuck on.

This illustration, from an advert of 1906, illustrates at least the main range of their products - domestic wares and trunks.

Some of the items could have been made in copper or brass but it is not evident whether they were or not.

A hot water plate, stamped underneath with Orme Evans' usual mark but in a circle with "Made in England" around it; and the word "copper". 

The copper had been silvered but most of this has now worn away.  

A copper kettle, with brass and ebonised wood handle, marked with Orme Evans' usual mark.

Photo by courtesy of Vin Callcut.

This object is clearly marked on the base and appears to be in its original state.  It appears to be a ewer but the top has four pouring lips. 

The top of the handle appears to have been flattened to accommodate this peculiarity.

The body has a sort of random texture embossed on it, along with three encircling bands and a row of roundels.

This advertisement appeared in 1920 and seems to cover the usual range but there is no mention of enamelled advertising signs.

But they now claim to make radiators for cars, lorries, aeroplanes and seaplanes.

This advertisement from 1932 shows the Prince of Wares trade mark - a type of Nordic blue-eyed blond that was shortly to achieve notoriety.  Note too that the advert says "We use only English steel, English enamel and English labour", and bear in mind the number of Irish and Welsh living in Wolverhampton at the time.

Every page of their catalogue, detailed below, has, across the top, the words "Best Wolverhampton  Quality".  It all seems part of a jingoism which is a little uncomfortable to-day.

Note that the advert refers to tinned steel and stainless steel but mainly to enamel ware, which may suggest a greater concentration of business than appeared in 1899.  Stainless steel seems to have been added to the repertoire. 

This letterhead, dated 1924, shows three trade marks.  The centre top one is the letters O E & Co; that on the left is the phoenix mark of Henry Fearncombe & Co; and that on the right might just stand for John Marston, Wolverhampton. Orme Evans had taken over the japanning and enamelling businesses of both  in 1902.
But their catalogue, dated May 1927, from which our illustrations on another page are taken, is redolent of its age, still largely Victorian and quite different in many respects from the world that was ushered in by the Second World War.  Most of Orme Evans' products in this catalogue were for domestic use, though they also have a large section on "Dairy Accessories".  There is no brass and copperware in the catalogue.
An enamelled storage bin with a Prince of Wares label.  Enamelled items have been seen with an acid etched mark on the base but it seems that the company's products of this sort were not usually marked other than by the use of these stuck on labels.
This advertisement seems to come from the 1950s and shows the company still making domestic wares with vitreous enamel finish.  
According to Compton Mackenzie's history of Brockhouse, they took over Orme Evans sometime during the Second World War.  Brockhouse had become a large conglomerate and it seems that Orme Evans continued, with its own identity maintained, within that organisation.  The company has been noted as listed in the 1959-60 Red Book but it is missing from the 1961 edition. But exactly why and when it closed or, at least, lost its separate identity, is not known.

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