This webpage tells the story of the origin of the designs used by A.E. Jones Ltd

From Rathbone & Co. to A.E. Jones Ltd

Many of the designs used by A.E. Jones Ltd came from a number of different Birmingham Arts and Crafts designers and firms. The story is often confusing and I have tried to illustrate the link between the firms and their designs using one distinctive inkwell design.

Our story starts just after A.E. Jones moved to larger premises in Windmill street during 1905. Around this time A.E. Jones purchased the rights to a colouring process (patination) originally developed by Richard Llewellyn B. Rathbone.

Rathbone & Co.

Rathbone was a well known metalworker and a relation of W.A.S. Benson who manufactured metalwork designs created by C.F.A. Voysey.  He had workshops in Liverpool and at Menai Bridge in North Wales. In February 1902 Rathbone sold the designs, drawings and templates relating to his cabinet handles and hinges and some lighting fixtures to a company called Faulkner Bronze. The colouring process and Rathbone's trademark of St. Dunstan patron saint of goldsmiths, hammering a bowl, were also purchased by Faulkner Bronze.

The following copper and brass inkwell was manufactured by Rathbone & Co in 1903.

 
 
Images used courtesy of Century of Design www.centuryofdesign.com
 
Faulkner Bronze Company

Faulkner Bronze consisted of a number of key people. Spencer Pumphrey a renowned repousse worker, John Webster, A.E. Williams and Thomas Birkett who were all previous members of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft and designer Anne Grisdale Stubbs.

Jesson Birkett & Co Ltd.

Early in 1904, Faulkner Bronze was reconstituted as Jesson, Birkett & Co Ltd. It can clearly be seen from the picture of the following inkwell that Jesson, Birkett & Co Ltd used aspects of designs by Rathbone. The inkwell was marked on the base "Jesson, Birkett & Co".

 A.E. Jones Ltd.

Sometime around 1905 A.E. Jones Ltd purchased the rights to the St Dunstans trademark and the colouring process developed by Rathbone. He also took on a few Jesson, Birkett & Co Ltd employees including F.W. Salthouse. Salthouse had originally worked with Rathbone and held the details of the metal colouring process. The Faulkner Broonxe/Jesson, Birkett & Co Ltd pattern book for 1904 was preserved in the A.E. Jones Ltd archives until the firms demise. A.E. Jones Ltd used many of the designs of Anne Stubbs and others such as Bert Harvey. Jesson, Birkett & Co Ltd also used these same designs. The relationship between the two firms is hard to figure out.

The following inkwell by A.E. Jones Ltd, hallmarked 1911, demonstrates that A.E. Jones Ltd also used aspects of designs originating from Rathbone.

 

 
Image used courtesy of Jan Van Den Bosch at www.vandenbosch.co.uk