A catalogue of treasures

In our Collections Centre at Winterbourne, we have a room dedicated to archival material relating to Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds (GKN). I have been working on a catalogue of items manufactured by a subsidiary of GKN called Joseph Sankey & Sons, dated March 1905.

Sankey’s came into being when Samuel Joseph Sankey bought out the partnership of the firm he worked for in 1854.  He had served an apprenticeship with a blank tray maker, where he learned design and mechanical drawing. During the 1860s Joseph acquired a rolling mill and ironworks in Stonefields – this became the Bilston Iron Company, which gave him control over the firm’s supply of tinplate and sheet iron. Steam-powered stampings were installed so that heavier gauge metal could be used, enabling them to extend their range to kettles and frying pans. The firm’s range became huge, and they exported around the world.

By 1891 Joseph Sankey had adopted the SPHINX trademark, which subsequently appeared on many of their production items.

Sphinx trademark

The 1905 catalogue is an “office copy” and there are hand-written annotations and pieces of paper pasted in. It was in continuous use up to 1937.

1905 Catalogue, inside cover

Here are just a few of the hundreds of products in the catalogue:

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