J. W. SINGER & SONS LTD A brief history of the firm
1848 John Webb SINGER casts his first brass altar candlesticks using turnips as moulds
1851 By now SINGER is using premises in Eagle Lane in Frome to cast church ornaments, later expanding to a forge in Justice Lane.
1851 SINGER exhibited at the PARIS INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION, the first of many such occasions.
c l861 A gas engine installed, designed to run off the town supply, to power the factory machines through a complicated arrangement of shafts, pulleys and belts. The engine needed 6 sturdy blacksmiths to turn the two large fly wheels to start.
1862 LONDON EXHIBITION
1866 Moved to Waterloo in Frome, between Cork Street and West End.
1878 PARIS EXHIBITION. Silver and bronze medals awarded.
1888 New statue foundry built. Among the statues cast were Boadicea and Justice in London, King Alfred in Winchester and lions for the Rhodes Memorial, Capetown.
1899 The firm made a Private Limited liability Company. John Webb SINGER relinquished control to his sons. Some shares were offered to craftsmen.
The Share capital was –
20,000 6% Preference shares at £1 a share
10,000 Ordinary £1 shares
20,000 4% Debentures
The Directors were –
William Herbert SINGER Managing Director, Edgar Ratcliffe SINGER, (Sir) William BULL M.P., George
1904 On May 6th. John Webb SINGER died, aged 85.
1914 SINGERS purchased its rival SPITAL & CLARK of Birmingham for £ 12,500. Ernest and Clifford
SPITAL joined the Board as Managing Director and Works Director respectively.
1914 – 1918 The firm requisitioned by the Government to make munitions. Women employed for the first time.
1918 Pre-war production resumed. There was a great demand for war memorials.
1926 The Art Metal side of the business taken over by the MORRIS ART METAL WORKS of London due to falling demand and the distance from London, the new company becoming the MORRIS SINGER FOUNDRY. It still casts statues at Basingstoke where it moved in 1967. SINGERS now concentrated on hot metal pressing in non ferrous metal.
1934 By this time SINGERS was suffering the effects of the Depression. Clifford SPITAL returned to Frome to run the firm without salary for 12 months until it became profitable. In fact the business did increase and modest profits were made -1933 Balance of £3,579,1934 Balance of £7,451, 1935 Balance of £7,641. At this time a bonus pension scheme introduced.
1939 Again the company directed to war work. The old gas works at Welshmill taken over for the production of cast metal brass rods for producing fuse body pressings.
1946 SINGERS taken over by the DRAYTON GROUP of Old Broad Street, London. Clifford and his son Geoffrey SPITAL left the board.
1949 The company now amalgamated with MANSELL BOOTH of Birmingham.
2000 SINGERS relocated to Handlemaker Road in Frome and the old site is sold for housing. The firm now concentrates on water sprinklers.
A late 19th century portrait of John Webb Singer