How it all began – The History of Arthur Price
Just as Sheffield was home to knife and blade manufacturing in the UK, turn-of-the-20th century Birmingham was the home of spoon and fork making. The two trades used different materials and processes, and it wasn’t until after WWII that the two elements came together.
In the latter part of the 19th century, Arthur Price spent 20 years working for cutlery companies in the Birmingham area before setting up his own business. During this time, he mastered every skill required for the cutlery trade and slowly accumulated second-hand machinery to start his own enterprise. A dedicated and ambitious man, he made his own tools and dies at home once he’d finished his 12-hour factory shifts. The Price family’s front room became Arthur’s workshop.
His very first factory was at 16 ½ Gem Street in the Aston area of Birmingham. He employed 12 people including his eldest daughter, Maud, who was the company's secretary from 1905 until the outbreak of the Great War. The factory had no electricity, and used a small gas engine to cast the nickel silver ingots used for making the cutlery.
Competition was stiff, with 20 other cutlery companies operating in Birmingham, however Arthur’s business acumen and hard work paid off, and he was soon able to acquire a series of larger premises to house his new equipment. By 1911, the business was prospering, and all the products produced were being exported overseas. We were the first company to make spoons and forks of chromium plate, the forerunner of Stainless Steel and constantly innovated and adapted as time went by – life was sometimes challenging, especially as the company has seen and survived two World Wars.
Unsurprisingly, during both World Wars Arthur Price stopped making cutlery and supported the war effort by manufacturing munitions and it was after the Second World War that the company grew into a world-wide operator. Third generation John Price opened a factory in Sheffield so that it could all tableware items – knives, forks and spoons could be produced in Britain by the company. As part of his ‘bigger plan’ he positioned the company at the top end of the market due to an influx of cheap, and poorly made foreign imports. But he kept the Birmingham operation and today the second city factory still produces silver holloware.
John then together with his son Simon, the current CEO, created a new company HQ in the cathedral city of Lichfield, strategically positioned between the two sites.
Britannia Way, Lichfield,
Staffordshire, WS14 9UY
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