Newhall Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, Great Britain
Elektroplattierer / Electroplaters
Marks used: EM&Co, FE, E&Co, E&CoLtd. Trademark:- A Crown over E&Co.
The company was founded in Birmingham by George Richards Elkington (b.17th October,1801 - d.22nd September,1865) and his cousin Henry Elkington (b.1810-d.1852), as silversmiths in 1836, who along with others, experimented with electroplating base metals during the late 1830s. They developed the new process of Electrotyping, whereby they created a mould of an existing high value art object, electroplated the inside with silver or silver-gilt and then added a base metal, usually copper, again by electrolysis, until it was thick enough to be structurally sound. A number of old masterpieces from famous collections, in particular the South Kensington (now Victoria & Albert) Museum, were copied in this manner by Elkington's during the 1850's. Also large hollow statues could be made using the same technology. Meanwhile, they were the first to perfect their electroplated nickel-silver by 1838. By 1840 they had patented their methods in Britain and France, and purchased the rights of competing patent-holders, though they later licensed the process to various firms in England and abroad. In 1842 they took on a third partner, Josiah Mason, who brought in extra finance, and the firm then became known as Messrs Elkington, Mason & Co. until 1861. Their only serious rival in electrotype sculpture and reproductions was the business run by Giovanni Franchi of Clerkenwell, London, which they purchased in late 1874. Elkington's factory was purchased and then shut down in 1968. However the Elkington & Co. name is still in use today as manufacturers under the auspices of British Silverware Ltd.
References: Tiscali Silver Collection Sheffield Cutlery Wikipedia Royal Collection Steve on Steins