Advert for the Sheffield & Birmingham Direct Supply Association
Printer: FW Potter & Co
Medium: Print on paper
In the 19th century, Birmingham and particularly Sheffield became the major manufacturing centres of England. Hundreds of workers were employed in large factories, many of them in the production and refinement of silver and cutlery.
In the middle of the century, there was an explosion in the demand for cutlery, much of it from North America. In 1855, the industrialist Sir Henry Bessemer developed a furnace called the Bessemer Converter, which allowed cutlery to be mass produced for the first time.