How it all began
Just as Sheffield was home to knife and blade manufacturing in the UK, turn-of-the-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, my great-grandfather spent 20 years working for flatware companies in the Birmingham area before setting up his own business. During this time, he mastered every skill required for the flatware 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, my great aunt 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 flatware companies operating in Birmingham, however my great grandfather’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; Arthur Price has always been committed to innovation.
And though survival may have meant that Arthur’s son, Frederick, had to adapt to market forces in times of crisis, the overriding aim to produce the finest quality cutlery paid off, making them the largest manufacturer of stainless steel cutlery in the country by the 1950s.