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British Industrial History

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Spear and Jackson

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June 1872.
December 1912.
1914. Handsaws.
January 1920.
Feb 1945.
April 1945.
May 1945.
June 1945.
July 1945.
August 1945.
Jan 1947.
March 1947.
June 1958.
May 1960.

Etna Works and Rolling Mills, Sheffield.

1760 A business was set up in Sheffield by John Love, a draper, and a Mr. Manson, making use of the new material, crucible steel, to make saws.

Alexander Spear joined the business.

1774 Company established.

1775 The Partnership between John Love, Alexander Spear, and William Alexander (2), all of Sheffield in the County of York, Linen-drapers and Factors, was dissolved by mutual Consent; the said Business was continued by John Love and Alexander Spear.[1]

1783 John Love and Co, factors of Sheffield, accepted William Littlewood as an apprentice[2]

At some point the cutlery business had expanded so much that the business was moved from Castle Street to larger premises in Gibraltar Street[3]

1802 John and Alexander Spear and Co, saw manufacturers, took on Stephen Liversidge as an apprentice.[4]

Spear and Bramall were file and saw manufacturers at the cupola in Gibraltar Street[5]

1814 Company now run by John Spear, Alexander's nephew. Samuel Jackson became an apprentice[6].

1820 The company were exporting saws to Europe and America. John Spear took Samuel Jackson as a partner. The firm became Spear, Jackson and Bramall.

1825 Spear, Jackson and Co, of Gibraltar Street, were saw manufacturers; Spear and Co of Gibraltar Street were file manufacturers; John Spear was a manufacturer of Western Bank, Sheffield[7]

1829 Dissolution of the Partnership between John Spear and Samuel Jackson, and the late George Cawthron, deceased, at Sheffield, in the County of York, as Manufacturers of Saws and Steel-Refiners; in future the same businesses will be carried on by the said John Spear and Samuel Jackson[8] as Spear and Jackson.

Spear and Jackson were the second business in Sheffield to relocate close to the new Sheffield and Rotherham Railway so as to able to load products directly onto railway trucks, thereby saving considerably on transport costs[9]

1850 Erected Etna Works in Savile Street[10]

1851 Exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition and won a medal for their 5ft circular saw.

1851 After the death of Mr Spears, the Jackson brothers (Samuel and Robert) were the senior partners

1855 Exhibited edge tools at the 1855 Paris Exhibition

1868 Dissolution of the Partnership between Samuel Jackson, now deceased, and the undersigned Robert Jackson, Joseph Burdekin Jackson, and William Albert Jackson, in the trades or businesses of Merchants and Manufacturers of Steel, Saws, Files, Edge Tools, Machine Knives, Agricultural Implements, and other articles of Hardware, at Sheffield, in the county of York, under the style or firm of Spear and Jackson. The said trades or businesses have since been carried on under the same style or firm by the said Robert Jackson, Joseph Burdekin Jackson, and William Albert Jackson[11]

1872 Patent to Robert Jackson and Joseph Burdekin Jackson, File and Steel Manufacturers, trading under the style or firm of Spear and Jackson, for an invention of "improvements in machinery or apparatus for cutting files."[12]

1873 Dissolution of the Partnership between Robert Jackson (late of Carrysbrook, in the parish of Sheffield, in the county of York, who died on the 21st day of July, 1873) and Joseph Burdekin Jackson, of Tapton in the same parish, in the trades or businesses of Merchants, and Manufacturers of Files, Steel Saws, Edge Tools, Machine Knives, Agricultural Implements, and other Articles of Hardware, at Etna Works, in Saville-street East, in Sheffield aforesaid, and elsewhere, under the style or firm of Spear and Jackson; the business was carried on alone by the said Joseph Burdekin Jackson, under the said style or firm of Spear and Jackson[13]

1895 Joseph Burdekin Jackson died.

1905 James Frederick Jackson died suddenly.

1905 Private company incorporated to acquire the business.

1925 Mr Ernest Wilson left for New Zealand to act as sole representative for the company as well as Joseph Rodgers and Sons.[14]

1926 A. K. Wilson was governing director of the company, and also a director of Joseph Rodgers and Sons.[15]

1937 Company made public. Arthur Kingsford Wilson was chairman and managing director; the board included Douglas Jackson Haggie, Leslie Jackson Coombe, Frederick Felix Gordon (technical director) and Harry John Wilson Marsh, plus 2 special directors. Subsidiary companies were Drabble and Sanderson and Edward and William Lucas as well as companies in USA and Canada.[16]

1946 The company found itself well placed to respond to the great demand for its products post-war; the research department was busy with new developments; investments had been made in new Hollerith machines which it was hoped would enable tighter control of production and faster response to problems[17]

1960 Acquired Brades and Nash Industries[18]

1961 Manufacturers of steel saws, edge tools, spades, forks and shovels. [19]

1961 Modernisation of the factory would take place over 3 years[20]

1967 Spearwell Tools was formed to merge the gardening and agricultural interests of Spear and Jackson and Eva Industries[21]; jointly owned by the 2 companies

1969 Acquired Thomas Bloor including the associate Woodsman Tool[22]

1970 After a period of losses by Spearwell, and several factory closures, Spear and Jackson acquired Eva's interest in Spearwell Tools[23]

1972 Spearwell Tools was merged with Spear and Jackson's hand tool division as Spear and Jackson (Tools)[24]

1972 Acquired John Bedford and Sons as part of expanding the tools offering[25]

1973 Acquired John Peace and Sons

1985 Acquired by James Neill and Co

1995 The new company was renamed Spear and Jackson plc.

1997 Acquired from Apax Partners by U.S. Industries, consumer products manufacturer, formerly part of Hanson[26]

2007 Spear and Jackson exported to 115 countries and had subsidiary companies in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. After 245 years of production, Spear and Jackson's headquarters remains in Sheffield.

2020 Most Spear & Jackson products are made in the Far East.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 13 May 1775
  2. Register of Apprentice indentures
  3. Sheffield Independent July 27, 1895
  4. Apprentice indenture records
  5. Sheffield Independent Oct. 18, 1887
  6. Sheffield Independent July 27, 1895
  7. 1825 General & Commercial Directory of Sheffield
  8. London Gazette 28 July 1829
  9. Sheffield Independent Nov. 30, 1867
  10. Sheffield Independent July 27, 1895
  11. London Gazette 30 Oct 1868
  12. London Gazette 4 Jun 1875
  13. London Gazette 3 July 1874
  14. The Engineer 1925/10/02
  15. The Engineer 1926/11/19
  16. The Times 30 Sept 1937
  17. The Times Aug. 5, 1946
  18. The Times, Nov 23, 1960
  19. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  20. The Times, Jun 28, 1961
  21. The Times, Jun 17, 1967
  22. The Times Mar. 4, 1969
  23. The Times, Nov 13, 1969
  24. The Times, Jan 13, 1972
  25. The Times, Jun 30, 1972
  26. The Times Dec. 5, 1997
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • [1] Spear and Jackson company website